Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said he is satisfied proper procedures are in place at his Department to properly store its electronic and paper records for future archive use.

Mr Cowen said his office is fully compliant with the National Archives Act, which states records must be properly preserved and stored.

The Taoiseach was responding in the Dáil to questions from the leaders of Opposition parties who asked if adequate procedures were in place.

Labour's Eamon Gilmore said such records were essential for future historians.

It comes as the 1901 census is made available online from Thursday.

Since the 1911 census was put on the internet three years ago, it just under seven million visits have been recorded to the website.

But the popularity of online archives is hiding a problem - storage.

While the Taoiseach said he is satisfied with the housing of such records, there have been warnings elsewhere of a crisis for Ireland's archives.

Countless records are being stored in a warehouse and away from public view because of a lack of suitable space at the National Archives.

Some of the records in the facility in Bishop Street in Dublin are hundreds of years old and others are more recent.

All of them though provide a glimpse into the past and an insight into how the country we now live in was shaped.

But the National Archives has run out of suitable space to properly stores its records.

This means it cannot take in all the Government documents its obliged to under the 30-year rule.

Experts say proper archive storage should be in good sized rooms where conditions can be easily controlled.

Many of the records are wrapped in waterproofing because of concerns over the roof.

Minister Mary Hanafin, who is responsble for the issue, says that the Office of Public Works is in the process of converting the big warehouse into smaller compartments as there is no possibility of a new building due to financial constraints.