December 7, 2020
Sinn Féin to move Bill which would bring forward publication of the 1926 Census – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts & Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, will tomorrow (Tuesday 8 December) move his Statistics (Decade of Centenaries) Bill 2020, in the Dáil.

The Bill aims to bring forward the publication of the 1926 Census, which is currently not due to be published until 2027.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“The 1926 Census records would reflect the societal effects or the upheaval that numerous momentous events had on Irish society at the time and into the near and long term future of that part of Ireland that was the fledgling state when the Census of 1926 was recorded.

“Given the pandemic which we have lived through this year, it would be of interest to see how the deaths of over 25,000 people in Ireland who perished due to the effects of the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-19 are reflected in the 1926 Census records.

“The current restriction imposed on access to the Census of Population 1926 prevents historians, statisticians, genealogists and others from interrogating what we expect to be a hugely illuminating primary source, to reflect in their future studies the factual impact of significant historical events.

“The new Irish Free State held its first census in 1926 at the height of a world economic depression and widespread emigration from the state, 15 years after the last British Census of Population which covered the whole island of Ireland.

“The 15 year period between Censuses also has an enormous cultural and linguistic significance in that the Gaeltacht areas and the number of native Irish speakers were greater then than today, and the specifics within the 1926 Census may when compared with the 1911 Census help would clarify the decline.

“This 15 year gap in our research material is one of the most important periods of Irish history. The data contained in the 1926 census would afford everyone the opportunity to learn and understand more how turbulent events such as the 1913 Lockout, 1916 Easter Rising & subsequent Wars impacted on the people.

“The release of this 1926 Census would also provide a very significant boost to Irish historical research, genealogy and family history research and indeed, to Irish tourism generally, as we look with hope to recovery and a reopening of our country. 

“There would be no additional cost to the government in releasing the 1926 Census, but there would be a benefit to society. 

“I believe next year is the opportune time for the early publication of the details, given that the 2021 Census has been postponed for a year. 

“This would allow the CSO staff to use the time which would have been set aside for the gathering and collation of that Census to bring forward the online publication date of the vital historical collection that is the 1926 Census.”

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