Dáil debates

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Ceisteanna - Questions

Census of Population

12:00 pm

Photo of Liam TwomeyLiam Twomey (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Question 6: To ask the Taoiseach when he expects to publish the first results of the recent census; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15403/11]

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Question 7: To ask the Taoiseach the date on which the results of the census will be published. [17109/11]

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 7 together. The preliminary results of census 2011 were published on 30 June. This was just seven weeks after the end of the census field campaign which concluded on 13 May. The results are based on summary counts for each enumeration area, which were compiled by the 4,854 census enumerators and were returned to the CSO in advance of the census forms themselves.

The preliminary release, issued on 30 June, shows the total population of males and females by county, constituency and electoral division. It also provides information on the total housing stock and on vacant dwellings. The preliminary total for the population on census night, 10 April 2011, was 4,581,269 persons. This is an increase of 341,421 on the previous census in 2006 and this equates to an annual average increase of 68,284 persons or 1.6% per year.

Processing of the census forms is under way in the CSO's census processing centre in Swords. Over the coming six months the CSO will scan, process and code 20 million pages of census information. Following this, the first definitive results of the census will be published in March 2012, less than a year after census night. The results will be presented in nine census releases each covering a particular theme and containing thematic maps, interpretation and analysis of the data. A detailed timetable for the census publication programme will be published on the CSO website in September this year.

The CSO and the census field staff received excellent co-operation from the public, and I would like to put on record my appreciation of their participation in the census and my thanks to the census staff for a job well done so far. I look forward to the more detailed census results next year.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Tá mé buíoch dóibh siúd a bhí ag obair go dian ar an daonáireamh. I also commend the people who collated the preliminary census figures. It is clear we have had a higher than expected increase in population and our birth rate is the highest in Europe. Crucially, all these statistics will assist the Government and its agencies and local Government agencies in planning. In anticipation of the publication of the full results next March, has the Government plans to take on board the increase in population and the high birth place, particularly in regard to the provision of public services, especially in the health and education sectors? If so, will the Minister of State outline them? Will he ensure there will be a debate on this issue?

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Deputy. He is correct that the census figures will assist Government policy going forward. I met the board of the CSO and I wrote to a number of Ministers asking them to meet members of the board who have responsibilities for various elements of the census and the information that has been provided, whether that relates to health, education, enterprise, trade and employment and small business. The Government can use the information from the census when it is formulating policy and I hope Ministers will use the opportunity when meeting members of the board to use the information provided.

The CSO could also have a role to play in the Oireachtas committee system. I would like its staff to attend committee meetings to outline the information they received, for example, relating to the health, education, special needs and disability sectors. There was a question on the census form about disability and I would like that information to be used at committee level. It would also be opportune for the Opposition parties as well as the Government to use the information when they put policy together. Significant work has been done over the past few months on the census and this information can be of use. That is why I have written to a number of Ministers asking them to meet CSO personnel to use this information going forward.