independent

Saturday 24 June 2017

Ireland is changing all around us and we can see it every single day

Opinion

Last week's preliminary results of Census 2016 shows that Irish society is changing
Last week's preliminary results of Census 2016 shows that Irish society is changing
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ireland is changing.

Any living, breathing organism changes over time. We get older, greyer, fatter, more wrinkled, grumpier, more set in our ways.

Stereotypically that is what happens us as individuals but our population or society evolves also and last week's preliminary results of Census 2016 shows that Irish society is changing.

It is a far different country from the Ireland of my youth.

We are less religious or at least less Catholic, we are more diverse, 11.6% of our population is non-Irish which is actually down from 12% in the 2011 Census.

122,500 Poles are now living in Ireland which is more than are living in the UK.

Last weekend I was doing a stint selling flags for my local football club and standing in the one spot for a couple of hours you people watch - what else is there to do - and it was quite remarkable just how many non-English speakers passed by in that time period.

Most but not all were younger than me, young couples with young children and babies, teenagers and students attending Dundalk Institute of Technology.

In my younger days selling flags was a regular experience be it for a football club or a school and in those days, the prime location was the front door at the now gone Dundalk Shopping Centre or the front door to Dunnes Stores in Park Street.

In those days there were no foreign languages to be heard from the by-passers, just the occasional Monaghan or northern accent.

This week is Holy Week and the majority of businesses in the town will be open during the Good Friday ceremonies. That would have been unthinkable twenty or thirty years ago, when virtually every shop and business in the town would be closed for a couple of hours between 2 and 4pm.

On Friday night, Dundalk Stadium will be open for business and will be serving alcohol, while pubs will remain closed as per the licensing laws.

Good Friday was always a day to abstain from meat and eat fish, but how many people will observe that tradition this Friday, while hot cross buns are now available throughout Lent, but I don't remember them been so readily available in years gone by.

Statistics don't lie, Ireland is indeed changing and all we have to do is look around us in our daily life to see the evidence.

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