The Irish government will move ahead with a controversial decision to publish the Republic's 1926 census, even though it is in clear breach of the 100-year rule which governs the release of all such information.

Irish Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan told The Irish Times that publishing the census would need a change of legislation, but he had received widespread public and political approval for the move.

Critics contend the 1926 census could easily contain information about people who are still alive which might be embarrass them, including potentially publishing information about children born to unmarried couples, or discussing their literacy or mental capacity, or even any diseases they might have had.

But Deenihan insisted that sensitive information about those still alive could be redacted.

"It should be possible to protect or to ensure that some information that is sensitive may be withheld," he told The Irish Times.

It is believed that the Irish government is increasingly keen to include revelations contained in the 1926 census as part of a wider program it hopes will draw tourists to Ireland looking for their roots.

Referring to this program Deenihan said he was keen to publish the information contained in the census this year in advance of a tie in event which is seeking to attract thousands of tourists with Irish connections or ancestry to come "home" to Ireland next year.