Thursday, 3 June 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
14. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the progress, if any, made to date on the Women's History Project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. 
Miss de Valera: The Women's History Project was funded by me to meet three main objectives: to survey and record sources relevant to the history of women in Ireland, to list these sources and to make the list available to the public through the provision of a CD-ROM and to publish historical documents relating to the history of women in Ireland.
This project is proceeding under the supervision of the Irish Manuscripts Commission. With the aid of funding provided by my Department, the project staff have completed their survey of material relating to women in Irish history. They have to date visited over 300 repositories in Ireland, North and South. Approximately 100,000 data entries have been made from the material found. This database is currently being edited and will be converted to CD-ROM format with a view to being made available to the public later this year.
The second strand of the project includes editing, annotating and preparing for publication the Drennan-McTier correspondence which is held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. This consists of about 1,400 letters, mainly between Martha McTier and her brother William Drennan, spanning the period 1776-1819. Volume one, covering the period 1776-93, was published in 1998 and volumes two and three will be published simultaneously later this year. The project will also publish other material relating to women.
The project also involves the listing of material relating to women in the files of the Department of the Taoiseach, 1922-66, which are in the custody of the National Archives. There are approximately 1,400 boxes of material to be examined and it is expected that this work will be finalised by 2001. Once completed this database will be made available to researchers through the National Archives.
Mr. O'Shea: In this ongoing process, sources are being identified and listed and the objective is to make them available. Does the Minister agree that this information should be entered into the Department's website on a weekly basis? This would make available the information which has been gathered and it could stimulate people in the wider community to make available to the Department information which may not come to the Department through other sources. The interaction with the general public will help and will enrich and speed up the project.
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