Ceisteanna–Questions. - Population Levels.

Wednesday, 3 March 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 501 No. 4

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  2.  Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   asked the Taoiseach  Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern   the population changes in the past five years in the Border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo. [5038/99]

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  The information requested by the Deputy is contained in a statement which I propose to circulate in the Official Report. The data supplied comes from the results of the 1991 and 1996 Censuses of Population. The population of the Border counties – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, and Sligo – in the 1996 census was 407, 295, compared with 402,987 in 1991, an increase of 4,308 or 1.1 per cent.

Following is the statement:

Population of Counties in Border Region.

County 1991 1996 Population change Percentage change
Cavan 52,796 52,944 148 0.3
Donegal 128,117 129,994 1,877 1.5
Leitrim 25,301 25,057 244 1.0
Louth 90,724 92,166 1,442 1.6
Monaghan 51,293 51,313 20 0.0
Sligo 54,756 55,821 1,065 1.9
Border Region 402,987 407,295 4,308 1.1

Source: Census of Population, 1991 and 1996.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will the Minister of State acknowledge the need identified in the 1997 NESC report for special Government development measures over and above those already in place—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  These are purely statistical questions. The Minster of State is not responsible for policy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I appreciate that point, a Cheann Comhairle—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is not in order to develop a case or ask questions relating to policy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am trying to establish whether the information is given in a collective manner in terms of the Minister of State's response which does not highlight the reality that some of the counties listed have recorded a population decline. This must underscore an imperative for the Government to facilitate immediate inward investment to address the continuing problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Inward investment is not a matter for the Minister of State. These are purely statistical questions. Questions relating to policy and other aspects are not appropriate.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Given your ruling, a Cheann Comhairle, I will pursue the matter directly with the Minister of State in line with the general thrust of what I have said.

  3.  Mr. Higgins (Mayo)  Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins   asked the Taoiseach  Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern   the number of people who emigrated from, and immigrated to, the country in 1997 and 1998; the countries from which the immigrants came; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5247/99]

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  An estimated 21,200 persons emigrated from the State in the 12 months to mid-April 1998 compared with 29,000 for the previous 12-month period to April 1997. The number of immigrants was 44,000 in each of the corre[839] sponding periods. The further breakdown requested by the Deputy is contained in a state[840] ment which I propose to circulate in the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Estimated Migration Flows by Country of Destination-Origin, 1997 and 1998.

Year ending April UK Rest of EU USA Rest of World Total
Emigrants
1997 12.9 4.1 4.1 7.9 29.0
1998 8.5 4.3 4.3 4.1 21.2
Immigrants
1997 20.0 8.1 6.6 9.3 44.0
1998 21.1 8.7 4.9 9.3 44.0
Net Migration (Immigrants less Emigrants)
1997 7.1 4.0 2.5 1.4 15.0
1998 12.6 4.4 0.6 5.2 22.8

Source: Population and Migration Estimates.

Mr. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  (Mayo): The Minister of State's reply is very positive in that it highlights the fact that the number of emigrants is down by 7,800 on the previous 12 months. It also highlights the reverse of the situation in previous generations when there was a mass exodus from the country. This has led to a situation in which more people are coming into the country than are leaving – a net inflow of 22,800. Does the Minister of State have on file the origin of these people? How many came from the United Kingdom, other European Union countries, the USA and the rest of the world? How many people could be categorised as refugees?

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  The formula used for estimating the total inflow of immigrants in 1998 was complicated. The information derives from the quarterly national survey, airline inquiries, passenger inquiries, country of residence inquiries, child benefit schemes, the number of visas granted, etc. The estimate is an amalgam of that information. The number of immigrants was 44,000 in 1998, of whom 21,000 came from the United Kingdom, 8,700 from the rest of the EU, 4,900 from the United States of America and 9,300 from the rest of the world. I do not have a categorisation for people who claimed asylum. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform would have those figures.

Mr. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  (Mayo): Does the Minister of State know how many of the 44,000 were Irish people returning home after spending time abroad for economic or other reasons?

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  That is a good question. I do not have a breakdown of the number of returned emigrants, but I will find out if it is available. Such a figure is not on my file and it was not part of the question tabled by the Deputy. This aspect was not covered when the estimates of the inflow were being compiled. However, it is an interesting question and I am sure the figure is available. If so, I will put it before the House at some stage.


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