§ Lord HYLTON
asked Her Majesty's Government:
To what extent there is public access at the Northern Ireland Public Records Office, or elsewhere, to documents concerning the Government of Northern Ireland, and which years are open to inspection;whether the position regarding Cabinet papers is different from other documentation, and in particular what is the position concerning all documents for the period 1919 to 1922;and whether the rules pertaining to the 1397WA Northern Ireland Public Records Office differ in any significant ways from those applying in England and Wales.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY of STATE, NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE (Lord Elton)
Although there is no statutory right of access to public records in Northern Ireland, records relating to the Northern Ireland Cabinet and Northern Ireland Government Departments are open to the public when they are 30 years old. Some files, however, are withheld from public view for longer periods of up to 100 years;this is done on the same basis and for the same reasons as apply to all United Kingdom records. There are no special rules applying either to Northern Ireland Cabinet papers or to documents covering the period 1919–1922 whether held in the Northern Ireland Public Records Office or elsewhere.