Public Record Office Northern Ireland To Get New £22m Home

By Graham Spicer | 31 October 2006
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a screen shot of a web page with writing and photograph on it

Freeholder's records are also held at PRONI and can be viewed on the PRONIwebsite

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is set to get a new home in Belfast in a £22million investment.

Maria Eagle MP, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure for Northern Ireland announced that the government would be advertising for developers to provide a site and for building of the new offices. The new building will provide state-of-the-art facilities to house the region’s historical records.

The preferred bidder should be identified by summer 2007 with work completed and the building ready to be occupied in mid 2010.

“This investment is evidence of government’s commitment to delivering improvements in Northern Ireland’s cultural infrastructure,” she said. “It is recognition of the unique cultural assets that PRONI holds – the documented community memory of Northern Ireland – and their value to society.”

a screen shot of web page with writing on it

PRONI is home to a vast archive including the Archive of the Ulster Unionist Council

The minister said that since the opening of the existing PRONI premises in the early 1970s some half a million people had consulted its records with many visits from abroad.

She added that the current building was outdated and no longer fit for the purpose intended and that due to increased demand for specialist public record storage space it could no longer meet its statutory obligations for the storage and safeguarding of public records.

“Larger and better facilities will enable much better public access to the records and will allow PRONI to encourage wider community involvement,” added the minister. “I see the new Public Record Office as a place to engage all sections of the community in a wider awareness and ownership of their archival heritage.”

PRONI was initially established under the 1923 Public Records Act (NI). There are currently more than 54 kilometres worth of records at the centre covering everything from cabinet minutes to the records of a local corner shop. The oldest document is a 13th century papal bull or decree.

For more information about PRONI visit the PRONIwebsite

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