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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 6 July, 2020
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The CSO wants people to 'tell Ireland’s story' of Covid-19

The work of the country’s census office has been hampered by the pandemic.

Three flags supporting frontline workers in Dublin.
Three flags supporting frontline workers in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE CENTRAL STATISTICS Office (CSO) is asking people to be open to “telling Ireland’s story” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The request comes as the work of the country’s census office has been hampered by the stay-at-home order being imposed across the country.

Before lockdown, the CSO was planning for more than 100 of its interviewers to visit 30,000 households every three months.

The information gathered is intended to help inform decision-making and government spending across a range of areas.

All of this has been made more difficult by the pandemic with the CSO instead having to do its work by contacting interviewees by post and phone.

“No more house calls and face-to-face interviews. No more trudging around the city with a heavy bag. The work becomes a vast sea of letters, envelopes, stamps and information literature,” says CSO field worker Deirdre Hannigan. 

Driving is replaced with desk work, letter writing, licking envelopes and postage. Initiation of contact is by written invitation and phone call, rings on doorbells replaced with patiently waiting for the phone to be answered or wishing for a call back. 

The CSO is therefore contacting a random sample of people, living in both urban and rural areas to take part in its surveys.

People are selected from census maps with those chosen receiving a letter containing a unique reference code that the person can use as a verification with the interviewer.

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The CSO has said that the information now collected will “chart the effect Covid-19 is having on our society”.

“We have measured Ireland’s economy through good times and through bad. Taking part in our surveys is important because the statistics we collect are used to make policy decisions and to plan for the future,” according to the CSO’s head of social collection Fiona O’Riordan.

“The information you give us means we can create a very accurate picture of Ireland, our lives, our economy, our health and our happiness. The information collected during this difficult time in particular will help us chart the changes taking place in our lives now so generations to come can understand the seismic shift our society is undergoing.”

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Rónán Duffy

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