Census shows dramatic rise in non-Irish population


More than a quarter of the population of large areas of Dublin, including most of the city centre and parts of Blanchardstown, Clondalkin and Tallaght, are immigrants, according to the latest census figures. There was a 53 per cent increase in the immigrant population between 2002 and 2006.

Foreign-born residents accounted for 14 per cent of the population in 2006, according to the latest figures, compared with 10 per cent in 2002.

However, a detailed analysis of figures for individual electoral districts by demographics specialists Gamma shows that the number of immigrants in some areas has grown exponentially over the four-year period.

In 2002, just under 7,000 people (6,928) living in Blanchardstown were immigrants; by 2006 this had risen to more than 15,270, an increase of more than 120 per cent. While Blanchardstown was an area which saw huge housing growth over the period, the overall population of the area increased by just 24.7 per cent.

Dublin city centre, defined as the area between the Royal and Grand canals, also recorded a population of more than one quarter non-Irish. In 2002, the city's non-Irish population stood at 21,838, in 2006 it was 35,799, an increase of 64 per cent, while overall the city's population had increased by just 11 per cent.

The highest proportion of immigrants in the city centre come from outside the EU (15.4 per cent), those born within the EU, excluding Britain and Ireland, account for 11.5 per cent of immigrants, while 4.6 per cent are British. The largest concentration of non-Irish are in the district north of Parnell Street and Summerhill and south of Dorset Street where almost 44 per cent were born outside Ireland.

A large number of immigrants have also settled in Mulhuddart and St Margaret's in recent years.

In the electoral district of St Margaret's and The Ward, almost a third of the population (31.7 per cent) are non-Irish, with more than half of those coming from non-EU countries.

South Lucan/north Clondalkin has also seen an influx of immigrants with their number accounting for more than 25 per cent of the population at the time of the last census, an increase of more than 80 per cent on 2002.

A total of 6,593 non-Irish born residents were recorded as living in the area in the 2006 census, with 3,799 of them originating from outside the EU.

Springfield in Tallaght has the highest proportion of immigrants in this part of the city at just under 26 per cent of the population, up more than 100 per cent on 2002.

While most immigrants settled in the north and west of Dublin, Loughlinstown also has a high percentage of non-Irish-born residents, largely based in Cherrywood, which houses a large business park.

Just over 25 per cent of the population of this area were non-Irish-born. However, their origins differ from the other areas, with fewer non-EU and eastern European immigrants and a greater proportion of British residents.

Similar patterns emerge in the city centres of Cork and Limerick. The number of foreign nationals in Cork city centre almost doubled between 2002 and 2006. In 2002, 1,800 people living in the city came from outside Ireland, by 2006 the figure was 3,578.

Limerick city centre has an even greater number of foreign nationals, although the increase between 2002 and 2006 was not as great as in Cork.

In 2002, there were 4,060 non-Irish living in Limerick city centre, in 2006 this had increased to 7,062. While this was a 42.5 per cent rise, it came during a period when the total population of the city centre actually decreased by 2.7 per cent.