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03rd Apr 2022

Apparently making this mistake on tonight’s census could cost you lots of money

Trine Jensen-Burke

don't make this mistake on tonight's census form

Tonight, millions of us across Ireland will be filling out our census forms.

The census was postponed from last April because of the Covid-19 pandemic and will now take place this evening, on April 3rd.

Ireland’s five-yearly Census of Population survey is conducted by the Central Statistics Office, and, when the results are in, will help shape Ireland for the next few years, meaning it is, of course, important that we all do our bit and fill it out correctly. Topics in the census include age, marital status, gender, place of birth, occupation and housing characteristics.

On the survey sheet, there are 11 household questions and 33 questions that are to be completed for up to six individual people who are present in the household tonight, on census night.

The law states that everybody present in the country and in your home on census night must be included, and due to the serious nature of the survey, not following these instructions or failing to provide the correct information can actually end up costing you a lot of money.

Major warning

In fact, this year, a major warning has been blatantly written on the front of Census 2022 form, letting people know that they could, in fact, be fined up to €44,440 in certain circumstances if caught out making some crucial mistakes.

The warning reads:

“Under Sections 26 and 27 of the Statistics Act 1993, you are obliged by law to complete and return this form. Any person who fails or refuses to provide this information or who knowingly provides false information may be subject to a fine of up to €44,440.”

Under the Statistics Act, 1993 it is an offence for a person or undertaking to:

  • fail to provide information requested in a statutory inquiry (Section 36);
  • prevent an Officer of Statistics (i.e. a CSO staff member or field officer) carrying out her/his duties (Section 37);
  • obstruct the Director General or an Officer of Statistics in the exercise of her/his functions under the Act (Section 40);
  • wilfully destroy, damage or falsify any document or record issued for the collection of statistics for a statutory inquiry (Section 42);
  • provide information, written or oral, or deliver a document, knowing it to be false, in purported compliance with a requirement under the Act (Section 43).

And – you have been warned – if you are found guilty of an offence under the Act, then you could face:

  • on summary conviction to a fine up to €2,500 or
  • on conviction on indictment, to a fine up to €45,500.

The census must be completed tonight, April 3rd, and once you have filled it out, a Census Enumerator will return to collect it from your home between April 4 and May 6 of this year.