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Count us in: family makes its mark by filling out six census forms

LAST time the census takers knocked on the door of this family they had seven children to jot down.

This time around, Dublin Airport police officer Paul Maher (36) and his wife Edel (37) revealed they had an additional three young ones to add to the list.

And by the time the next Census rolls around they hope to have at least one more to add to the list -- as Edel is preparing for yet another arrival at the end of June.

Households around the country last night fulfilled their civic duty on census night as they detailed the number of people in their home to paint a picture of Ireland's communities.

But father-of-10 Mr Maher joked he might be using more ink than most in their home in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, as the couple had to use a total of six forms to give the relevant information on their large clan.

First on the list was Eoin (12), then Cian (10), Darragh (8), Cathal (7), Conor (6), twins Odhran and Oisin (5), Fionn (3), Aisling (2) and one-year-old Cillian.

Mr Maher said they had always planned a big family which would be "three, maybe four, children".

"It just kind of happened, it's kind of a blur. It's not the worst news to get that your wife is pregnant," he said.

However, he said they were now one of the biggest families within their age group in the country.

"The financial aspect is a big thing," he said. "An accumulation of wealth was never a goal for myself or Edel."

Up to 5,000 census collectors will begin gathering completed forms from the 1.8 million households across the country from today.

Everyone who was in the State last night was legally obliged to fill in the form, which included a range of questions designed to create a comprehensive picture of our social and living conditions.

Enumerators will continue to collect the information until May 9, while preliminary findings will be available from July.

Irish Independent