Census night is your chance to be counted


According to Albert Einstein, intelligence is not the ability to store information, but knowing where to find it. And that’s why tellers across the country have been knocking on our doors to put together the national census.

It’s your chance to get noticed. Literally. Many are suspicious of data sweeps. Sometimes it feels like we’re being inundated, if not drowning, in information.

When it comes to us during a flood it feels like drinking from a fire hydrant.

Given the overreach of technology, some might wonder why a government would bother with something as basic as a door-to-door fact-finding trawl. It must be emphasized that this is not an attempt by the state to poke its nose into your personal affairs frivolously.

The census provides the government with vital knowledge it needs to keep the country running. Planning for schools, hospitals, pensions and many other areas of daily life would not be possible without them. Those who distrust government intentions can become particularly paranoid about filling out their form. But remember, without this data it would be impossible to provide or plan government services. It is used across interconnected sectors to manage public affairs.

The critical point is to ensure that the data is organized, processed and available to the right people in a policy setting format. In short, it is the oxygen of government.

Since the first one was recorded here in 1821, they have been used, with varying degrees of success, to determine the number and characteristics of the country’s inhabitants.

They were used for all sorts of reasons, some of which were surprising.

For example, the photographs from 1881 and 1891 were apparently pulped during World War I, apparently due to paper shortages. They still play a central role in giving the state a sense of the life experience of its people. Without such fresh information, new ideas and ways of thinking become impossible. Unfortunately Covid and staff shortages have meant thousands of people will be unable to attend tomorrow night’s census. But nothing guarantees the integrity of the process.

Meters are believed to be sending forms to households with which they were unable to gain access. Eileen Murphy, Head of Census Administration, said: “The people of Ireland have always been very supportive of the census and we thank them for their overwhelming support for the 2022 census.”

The form’s “time capsule” element is an inspired shot that sends a message to the future. We get the chance to be part of the brave new world of 100 years.

Thoughts and hopes can be projected onto unborn generations. Our collected entries can provide a unique picture of who we were and are.

The census should show not only that you were counted, but that you count. Census night is your chance to be counted

Fry Electronics Team

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