By Elham Asaad Buaras
According to Census figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office Islam is projected to become Ireland’s second religion within the next 30 years.
Islam is now Ireland’s fastest-growing religion and, at its current rate of expansion, it is set to become the second religion in the State after Catholicism by 2043.
In 1991, Islam accounted for just 0.1 per cent of the Irish population. That rose to 1.1 per cent – a 10-fold increase – by 2011, when a total of 49,204 Muslims were resident in Ireland.
While there are indications the growth rate has slowed to 70 per cent between 2002 and 2006, a strong birth rate and immigration are expected to result in Ireland’s Muslim population exceeding 100,000 by 2020.
The latest Census figures also revealed that 84 per cent of the Irish population describe themselves as Catholic, down from 91.6 per cent in the 1991 census.
The number of Irish people with no religion, atheists and agnostics, increased by 400 per cent in Ireland between 1991 and 2011 to a total of 277,237. This group included 14,769 primary school-aged children and 14,478 of secondary school age. There were 4,690 children aged under one year who had no religion.