Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that questions related to ‘gender identity and sexual orientation’ will be included in a census pilot which will be undertaken in 2024.
This follows comments made by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to the Joint Committee on Gender Equality where he expressed support for the idea, saying that it was “definitely something the government is open to”.
The Tánaiste went on to say that while at present there were only options to record ‘male’ and ‘female,’ he did think that “there should be a third option.”
That approach has now been confirmed in a response provided to Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan by the Taoiseach.
Deputy Nolan asked the Taoiseach to clarify if the preparations and planning for Census 2027 will include a review of the possibility of including a third gender on the census form.
In response the Taoiseach informed Deputy Nolan:
“As part of the preparatory work for the 2027 census, the CSO will conduct a public consultation by inviting members of the public and various interest groups to make submissions on the topics to be covered, and on the outputs to be produced. A notice to this effect will be published in the national press/social media in November 2022 seeking submissions, and all government departments will be contacted for their input.”
The Taoiseach went on to note that the expert group will then assess the results of the Pilot and make recommendations on the content of the Census 2027 questionnaire. The final content of the questionnaire will be submitted for government approval in 2025.
After this, it is expected that a Census Advisory Group made up of representatives of government departments, public bodies, universities, the social partners and CSO personnel will then convene and make recommendations on the questions to be tested in a census pilot which will be undertaken in 2024:
“It is expected that consideration will be given to the inclusion of questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. The purpose of the pilot is to test new questions, changes to existing questions, and new field methodology, in a selection of areas across the country. For the first time in 2024 an online response option to the census, will be tested.”
Mr Martin insisted that The CSO works hard to ensure that the information collected and provided from the census remains current, relevant and of maximum use to the public.