A Census will be held on 24th April, 2016. We, at PLR, ask you to consider answering “PAGAN” to the question on religion.
We believe that the 2011 census may not have truly reflected the actual number of Pagans in Ireland. This is because people either put down the praxis with which they self-identify or marked “No Religion” in the Religion section. As a result, the Central Statistics Office split the “Other” category into very small numbers recording Druid, Shaman, Pantheist, Polytheist, Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, etc. separately and these figures are often omitted from published reports. This makes it difficult, in terms of representations to the State, regarding our beliefs in the areas of health and education.
There are many people who do not identify with any particular tradition or path but are still seeking or curious. There are also many people who follow an earth-based or magical practice, but do not normally define themselves as “Pagan.” These people may, however, have ticked “No Religion.” Other countries have encouraged a policy of putting “Pagan –“ and then adding your path or tradition, such as Pagan-Druid or Pagan-Witch. However, this might well prove to be counter-productive as each will be separated into different categories on the census results and we will be in the same position as we were before, with smaller categories not getting listed in published State figures.
In order to get an accurate measure of how many Pagans there actually are in Ireland, we encourage people to simply enter “PAGAN” into the “Other” field in the Census question regarding religion. In this way, we hope that, by the time the next census rolls around in 2021, “Pagan” will be an accepted category under “Religion” and just a box to tick. This will also mean that when it comes to health, work and education matters, having a recognised standing will make life easier for everyone fighting the red tape of Government.
March 15th sees the introduction of a new Board for Pagan Life Rites. As per our Constitution, the Board is rotated annually and made up of four elected Regional Officers. We thank our previous Board Members, Ailish Farragher, Barbara Lee, Kristian Märkus and Gavin Morrison for their year of service and dedication and welcome our new Board, Francis Devenney, Lora O’Brien, Fionnuala O’Regan and Vinnie Woods. As with our remaining Clergy Members, the outgoing Board Members continue to serve as Regional Officers.