Derry tops ‘Irish only’ census table

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney

More people identify themselves as Irish in Derry than in any other part of the north, new census figures reveal.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney says the new census figures - released on Tuesday - show “significant changes since the 2001 census both regarding identity and religious persuasion.”

The 2011 census found that of the north’s 26 council areas, Derry has the second highest proportion of residents who were either Catholic or who had been brought up as Catholic (75%).

The city also has the second lowest rate of people who belonged to or who had been brought up in Protestant, Other Christian or Christian-related denominations (22%).

At 52% Derry has the highest prevalence rates for people who identify themselves as ‘Irish Only’ as their national identity.

“There will be claims and counter-claims of what this represents when it comes to the constitutional position of the north and what the population are for or against,” Mr McCartney says.

“The way to have a definitive result for that question is to hold a border poll. The mechanisms within the Good Friday Agreement make allowance for that to happen.

“Nationalists and republicans are confident about building a new future based on equality and we see a united Ireland as the best way of ensuring equality for all.

“We are confident in the rationale behind our arguments and of the absolute logic of Irish reunification.

“If Unionists are confident in their own arguments for retaining the union then they will have nothing to fear with a border poll.”

A number of further key statistics were released this week showing Belfast and Derry had the largest proportions of single people (47 per cent and 42 per cent respectively).

Eleven per cent of Derry households contain dependent children and no adults in employment, the highest in the north.

The lowest proportions of people aged 65 years and over were in Derry, Dungannon, Magherafelt and Newry & Mourne (all 12 per cent) while Strabane (49 per cent) had the highest prevalence rate for households containing someone with a long-term health problem or disability, followed by Cookstown, Derry and Omagh (all 45 per cent).

Derry’s population now stands at 107,877