Producing Sausage Meat #20yearrule

Faced with a list of 799 files that are fully open and a further 232 files that are only partially redacted, it’s difficult to predict what will be returned from the PRONI archive when you order up an item based on its short title.

This is my favourite item from mid-December 2016 when I sat in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and looked at some of the government papers (1990 and before) that would be released on Friday 30 December under the 20 Year Rule.

AG/60/2/209 Producing Sausage Meat.

The title could have been referring to a report on the state of the pork industry. The papers could have been an evaluation of how best to heat pig farms [Ed – wood pellets, right?] in the 1980s. It could have pointed to an unbeknownst – or forgotten – health crisis affecting sausages.

The smile on the PRONI staff member’s face who brought the ‘file’ across to Desk 20 where I was sitting suggested something unexpected had been unearthed.

I reproduce the contents in full with the warning that

laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made

Details of the photographer and the location and the man producing the sausage meat are not included in the archive. But if you recognise the photo, feel free to comment below with the details.

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