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Uploaded on Mar 17, 2011

'Be proud and be counted'

There are at least half a million people in Scotland with parents, grandparents or great grandparents that have come to Scotland from Ireland. They make up Scotland's Irish community: the country's largest ethnic minority. As well as being positive citizens of the country they are born in, many are proud of their Irish heritage and ethnicity.

The 2011 census allows those of Irish descent to accurately record their background, heritage and cultural identity as Irish.  As well as a range of needs similar to other communities in Scotland, people from an Irish background have specific social, cultural, religious, and economic and health issues and requirements.  For example:

1. Studies show that men with Irish surnames in west-central Scotland are 26% more likely to die prematurely as a result of social and health factors. The same group is 51% more likely to die of heart disease than a number of others from a non-Irish background.
2. Catholics from an Irish background form a disproportionate number in Scottish prisons.
3. Many 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Irish in Scotland perceive injustice and inequality in numerous walks of Scottish life: not least of all in employment and sport.
4. Related to this, Catholics of Irish descent disproportionately abide in areas of the west-central belt where there are high levels of deprivation, and arguably degrees of religious, social, economic and cultural prejudice and discord.
5. People of Irish descent in Scotland are offered virtually no identifiable funding from Government, community and public bodies.

Academic research and numerous social and political groups stress the need for people from an Irish background to tick the Irish ethnic box to help record and assess the cultural, health and economic needs of Britain's largest group of immigrant origin and to 'facilitate monitoring of social disadvantage and discrimination'. The psychology of being able, being allowed, and being confident enough, to say 'I'm Irish', 'my ethnicity is Irish' or, 'I'm proud of my Irishness', is so profound it is incalculable to individuals and communities. If you have Irish ethnicity then you should claim it and be proud of your background: it is your right. All census information is for statistical purposes only and is completely anonymous. If you are of an Irish background and descent in Scotland then you should answer the enquiry affirmatively: you should tick the Irish box at question 15.

'Tick the Irish Box': be proud and be counted.


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