False: The Irish Census 2022 will be used to strip Irish people’s property rights.

By: Matthew Ross
March 31 2022

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False: The Irish Census 2022 will be used to strip Irish people’s property rights.


The Verdict False

The Central Statistics Office is prohibited from sharing identifiable data with anyone and can only be used for anonymized statistical purposes.

Claim ID 4e105c3e

Posts on social media have alleged that the 2022 Census in Ireland, to be conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in April, is part of a government conspiracy to strip the property rights of Irish people, connecting it with a proposed constitutional amendment on housing and the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One post states, "NEW CENSUS 2022 FORM WILL ENSLAVE THE IRISH BUT THEY DON'T CARE, THEY'RE STUPID." The post shares an excerpt from a video by far-right Irish conspiracy theorist and YouTuber Dave Cullen, a.k.a. Computing Forever. In the video, Cullen objects to new questions on the census form about the number of bedrooms, and other housing details, arguing that "the State has no right to ask these questions." Cullen claims that COVID-19 lockdown measures have primed "normies" to accept increased government control over their lives and calls the 2022 census form a "gross violation of personal privacy." Cullen links the census to a proposed amendment to enshrine the right of housing in the Irish constitution introduced in 2020, which was proposed as a Private Member Bill in the Oireachtas and is widely considered unlikely to pass, as well as to a future national referendum on housing. He also refers to the supposed threat that refugees from Ukraine may pose to Irish property rights, in keeping with other conspiracy theories online that allege that Irish homes may be forced into providing accommodation for people fleeing the conflict. The insinuation is that if the CSO knows how many bedrooms are in a house, they can use that information to force Irish people to take refugees into their homes. Censuses have occurred in Ireland for 300 years, with 1926 being the first year it was conducted as a function of an independent state. Since 1951, the Irish census has been held every five years, contrary to the standard ten-year interval for most countries. Individual census questions have occasionally been controversial, such as those concerning religion and sexuality, but outright refusal to participate in the census has been minimal in the past. The census is obligatory under Irish law, and according to the Irish Times, a few people are fined every cycle. The CSO abides by the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice, which share a tenet surrounding confidentiality. The CSO proclaims its adherence to the obligation that “identifiable information may not be disclosed and the information may only be used for the compilation of statistics.” It is against the law under the Statistics Act of 1993 for the CSO to use the data for anything other than anonymized statistics. According to a report in the Irish Times, the CSO is collecting data on bedrooms to understand the prevalence of overcrowding in Irish homes. Anonymous data collection is a normal part of state functions in Ireland. The CSO cannot legally share this data with anyone, including other parts of the government. The claim that census information will be used to force people to house Ukrainian refugees or strip Irish people of their property rights is false.

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