The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is to bring a memo to Cabinet proposing to reduce the 30-year rule for the release of State papers to 20 years.

Minister Heather Humphreys is proposing a change to the rule that sees the National Archives release a fresh selection of State papers dating back three decades every December.

The move would follow a similar move made in the UK in 2010 which allows the public access the government's archival records after 20 years.

Government ministers are to discuss reducing the 30-year rule on a phased, department by department basis.

Ms Humphreys said: “It is my concern that unless action is taken, an incomplete view of our shared history with the UK will develop over the coming years. Over the last two years, the UK has been moving towards a 20-year system.

"In 2013, the UK National Archives and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland released records for 1983, after 29 years.

"If we allow this situation to continue, the gap in the narrative will only become greater. Moving to a 20-year system is a considerable task and I am conscious that it will require extra resources in the National Archives.

“That is why I am advocating a phased, Department by Department approach. The release of addition records will happen in tandem with the redevelopment of the National Archives' Headquarters building, which will begin in early 2016," she explained.

"I have also asked the National Archives to undertake a pilot study with the Department of Education and Skills to ascertain the cost to Departments of storing records over 30 years old which should have been transferred to the National Archives.

"Action is needed on a number of fronts to improve the archiving of records across Government and to address the gap which is emerging between Ireland and the UK," she added.

It is anticipated that departments such as Justice and Foreign Affairs, which are most closely associated with Anglo-Irish matters, will be the first to have the change implemented.

If the new proposal is agreed at Cabinet it is expected the first release of 'extra' papers will take place in late 2016.