Fury at US Ulster-Scots move

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell has written an angry letter to the US Ambassador objecting to the removal of Scots-Irish as a distinct ancestry by the USA Census Bureau.

People in the United States who report themselves as Scots-Irish in the American Community Survey will now be included in the ‘other groups’ category.

The census data will, however, retain distinct categories for Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh.

The Scots-Irish - or, as they are known in Ireland, the Ulster-Scots - are the descendants of those who came to Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century.

Mr Campbell, MP, MLA for East Derry, said: “I have written to the US Ambassador in London, Mr Louis Susman, requesting that the US government reverse this decision and continue to have Scots-Irish available in US census data.

“I have also informed Scotland’s Westminster Members of Parliament about this matter.

“I indicated to the US Ambassador that it is an historical fact that immigrants of Scottish descent from the Ulster region of Ireland settled and helped to establish and build the United States of America.

“Scots-Irish descendents have made a significant contribution to society since the foundation of the USA in areas such as music, film, military and political life of the nation. There have been numerous famous Scots-Irish, among them 17 US Presidents.”

The East Derry MP also suggested that the tourism industry in the North could suffer as a result of the decision.

“Much of the tourism between the USA and Northern Ireland has been aimed at the Scots-Irish because of the ancestry links,” he said.

“People from a Scots-Irish descent in the USA are a separate ancestry as distinct from an Irish descent.”

Around 200,000 Ulster-Scots emigrated to North America, primarily during the colonial era.

Many figures in US history claim an Ulster-Scots background, including three Presidents whose parents were born in the North.