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Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy was interested to see how many people filled in 'Jedi Knight' as their religion in last year's Census forms.
Use the Force!

A TD wants to know: How many Jedi Knights are there in Ireland?

The Public Accounts Committee asks for figures on how many people signed last year’s Census as ‘Jedi Knights’.

THE DÁIL’S Public Accounts Committee has been asked to provide with statistics on the number of people who affirmed their religion as ‘Jedi Knight’ in last year’s Census.

The stats will be sought after Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy queried the number of people who had written in a religion other than those which were included in last year’s Census form.

“How do we know that the data we get is accurate,” Murphy asked, querying whether there had been examples like active campaigns for people to indicate a religion which was not their true faith.

The CSO’s Aidan Punch said Census figures showed remarkable stability over time, offering: “If you compare it at a detailed level of geography… you’ll get a remarkable consistency.

“I can tell you it didn’t happen, because this is Ireland… I’m not convinced that people just tick boxes.”

Piqued, Murphy asked whether there had been any note taken of the number of people who had indicated their religion as Jedi Knight, in line with other international campaigns to have Jedi recognised as an official religion by including it in their Census returns.

“I don’t think on this particular occasion we didn’t come up against any of those,” he was told in response, though CSO chief Gerry O’Hanlon added:

If somebody wishes, under ‘religious denomination’, to consider themselves a Jedi Knight, well the CSO is quite willing to accept it as Jedi Knight, because it’s self-declaration… whether such a thing exists is immaterial or not.

Murphy’s Fine Gael colleague Paschal Donohoe said if the CSO supplied the Jedi stats, their submissions would probably be “the most unusual piece of correspondence the Public Accounts Committee has ever received.”

Perhaps coincidentally – or maybe not – the request comes a day before Star Wars Day, as in, “May the Fourth be with you.”

Read: Census 2011 reveals Ireland’s fastest-growing towns and counties

Gallery: 7 sexy graphs and maps from Census 2011

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