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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Up to 20 face court over census refusal

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

UP to 20 householders who still refuse to fill out their census form face the prospect of a day in court early next year.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) plans to prosecute people who have repeatedly refused to complete the form, and expects a small number of cases to be heard early 2012.

Offenders give myriad reasons why they won't provide the information, used to provide a picture of the population's social and living conditions and help inform policy-making.

But none say they are too busy. Many instead claim they do not want their personal information recorded or do not recognise the State.

"There would be people who refused to take a form, or to complete the form and hand it back," a CSO spokeswoman said.

"Some would give reasons, and I know that in the past some of the reasons were a bit off the wall like they didn't recognise the State, or it wasn't a 32-county state. It's generally people who have got a principle against doing it."

Under the Statistics Act 1993 it is an offence to not take part in a census of population.

Cases are heard before the District Court, and fines of up to €1,270 can be imposed. If the decision is appealed to the Circuit Court, offenders can be hit with fines of €25,000.

The CSO says that up to 20 people are still holding out, and that perhaps two cases might end up in court.

After the last census in 2006, two people were convicted in court and pleaded guilty, and received fines of €200.

Preliminary results show that the total population on census night last April was 4,581,269, an increase of 8.1pc on the 2006 census.

Irish Independent

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