ALTERATIONS TO next year’s United Kingdom census rules could allow several million people of Irish decent to declare themselves as Irish – even if they were not born in Ireland, or carry Irish passports.A qualified support from the Federation of Irish Societies:
The questions to be put to UK residents will include one – which followed representations from the European Commission – that will ask which passport they hold: UK, Irish or other.
People will be also asked to describe their "national identity" as English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British, or other. On ethnicity, they will be able to list themselves as one of the categories mentioned, or as Irish, or gypsy/Irish Traveller.
The versions we have now are as good as we are likely to get, and substantial improvements on what was originally proposed, although we have questioned the inclusion of ‘Northern Irish’ and the conjoining of ‘gypsy’ and ‘Irish Traveller’, ” the federation said.The modern usage definition of "ethnicity" offered up by the Oxford English Dictionary is:
2.a. Pertaining to race; peculiar to a race or nation; ethnological. Also, pertaining to or having common racial, cultural, religious, or linguistic characteristics, esp. designating a racial or other group within a larger system; hence (U.S. colloq.), foreign, exotic.Taking that as the benchmark, I’d then question what concern it is of the Federation that the "Northern Irish" is included separately. It would be also interesting to hear them talk through their problems with the "conjoining" of the descriptions "gypsy" and "Irish Traveller".