About Paper Trail​

Learn about the charity and social enterprise work of Paper Trail.

Paper Trail Legacy Archive Research

As a registered charity, we offer free advocacy and training to victims and survivors of the conflict in the north of Ireland. You can learn about our services here.

Paper Trail (Legacy Archive Research) is funded by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and Victims and Survivors Service.

We also work closely with human rights and victims’ groups that represent families affected by the conflict. We help ordinary families access official information buried in archives for decades.

Paper Trail is also a social enterprise that offers specialized and targeted legacy archive research to the legal profession.

The profits we generate are reinvested to allow us to help other families in their pursuit of truth. Together, the information we find will benefit them and future generations, for history informs us all.


Our vision is of open government and freedom of information for the ultimate benefit of each and every British and Irish citizen.


Our mission is to discover and collate historic, conflict-related information which is buried in official archives, and ensure it reaches the families who need it most.


Our values are informed and guided by our commitment to:

>Human rights and social justice: we believe every family has a right to truth, justice, and acknowledgment

>Inclusiveness: we respect all people, and value diversity and equality

>Quality: we strive for excellence through continuous improvement

>Openness: we are committed to a culture of teamwork and collaboration


Ciarán MacAirt manages Paper Trail, and works closely with researchers, human rights lawyers and activists across Ireland and Great Britain.

Ciarán (below right) is a published author and human rights campaigner. He is also a practising associate member of The Academy of Experts.

Paper Trail evolved from his forensic research into his own grandmother’s murder during the conflict. Over the past decade, he helped other families access information critical for their own campaigns and human rights cases.

His legacy archive research has featured in headline news, in documentary films, and his highly regarded books, The McGurk’s Bar Bombing and Trope: Essays and Articles.

In 2011, he presented his research as evidence to the powerful U.S. Helsinki Commission in Washington D.C. Since then, he has led delegations to the Irish, British, and European Parliaments and spoken on victims' rights.

Ciarán says:

"The mechanisms which the state provided for truth recovery have failed most of us. Ordinary families are entitled to information about loved ones they lost during the conflict in Ireland and Great Britain over the last half-century. Access to this information is denied to them or it is hidden from them for decades. Paper Trail and our legacy archive research developed from this very human need to know."

Ciarán MacAirt presents his book at Stormont

Ciarán MacAirt

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