The CSO sought submissions from the public on improving the census questions for the next census in 2027. You can read the HAI’s submission here. The CSO will convene a Census Advisory Group (CAG) which will be made up of representatives of Government departments, local authorities, public bodies, the social partners, universities and research institutes, as well as CSO personnel. The CAG will examine the submissions and determine new questions or changes to existing questions. There will be a Pilot survey in selected areas in September 2024 which will test census enumeration procedures and the proposed content of the census form. The HAI made the following recommendations in their submission:
- Amend the Religion question to a two-part question:
Do you practise a religion? If yes, what religion do you practise?
- Remove the pre-selected checkboxes to allow for a written answer.
- Make the question on religion optional.
The Humanist Association of Ireland believes that implementing these changes will result in an improved and more accurate dataset, which will help with better planning in aspects of society that are heavily influenced by religion, such as schools and hospitals. This will allow for fairer representation for all citizens regardless of whether or not they have a religious belief.