Irish State Administration Database

posted by Elaine Byrne

The excellent Irish State Administration Database is now accessible at

This resource provides a dataset capturing the establishment, growth and evolution of Ireland’s state administration from the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 to the present. In so doing, it constitutes a major research infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences in Ireland, and is of benefit to political scientists, historians, lawyers, sociologists and specialists in public policy. It should also be of interest to public servants and public representatives.

The database, complied by Niamh Hardiman, Muiris MacCarthaigh & Colin Scott, records information about all national-level public organisations i.e. central Government departments and the agencies under their aegis, commercial state-owned enterprises and other relevant public bodies and institutions. For each such organisation, the database tracks its creation and any subsequent changes to its organisational status (e.g. mergers with other organisations, privatisations etc) as well as the evolution of its defining characteristics which include its functions, legal status and policy fields within which it operates.

There will an opportunity to explore the full capabilities of the database at a hands-on demonstration session in UCD on Tuesday 23 November, 3-5pm. This will be held in computer lab G-5 in the Daedalus Building, near the terminus of the number 10 bus in Belfield. Please email if you would like to attend before Friday 19 November.

3 thoughts on “Irish State Administration Database

  1. Lest my first comment be taken as being my only comment on this, I repeat here my response to Colin Scott’s posting

    ” Well done to all involved including IRCHSS which funded it.
    I look forward to exploring ISAD.

    Apart from maintaining it and keeping it up to date (which needs resources), I hope that it will be extended in two directions
    1) to local government. Until the 1970 Health Act and the abolition of rates on domestic residences and agricultural land, I suspect that most public expenditure was by local authorities (If this has been documented, I would appreciate a reference to a source or sources);
    2) to the political system ie. the Dail/Seanad and assocaited staffs, together with the growth of Ministerial offices/advisers etc.

    The inclusion of universities in ISAD did surprise me, as I never considered universities to be part of the state administration.

    Our education system (including third level, apart from what are now DIT, Institutes of Technology and some others) was largely privately owned, mostly state-funded and up to secondary level, very heavily state regulated (eg. curricula, teachers working conditions/pay/pensions).”

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