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Remove “Irish” from ethnic monitoring forms

Comment 13th July 2010

1/4 of all British have some sort of Irish ancestry and 1/10 have an Irish grandparent.  This statistic makes a mockery of the idea that "Irish" is a separate ethnicity to the rest of Britain.  This is particularly evident in the organ donation form which says that the reason ethnicity is being gathered is to make sure the best possible match for possible receivers of your organs. 

If you're one of the 1/4 of British people with Irish ancestry, what should you put down?  My parents and grandparents (and many of their parents) were born in England and I've only been to Ireland twice in my life, but as "ethnically" I'm a better match to the an Irish person, then surely I should put down "irish"? 

These categories are creating segregation where no segregation exists.

Why does this matter?

We are beginning to have an obsession with "ethnicity".  It shouldn't matter where your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents are from, what matters is where we are now.  Where we are now is that we are all British.

In some cases (such as on medical grounds) ethnicity can play a part – but as far as the Irish go, this is clearly not the case.  As an English person of "Irish descent" I'm fed up of the confusion.  We should either have "ethnic" monitoring for whether someone is English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh (dependent on place of birth or whatever other justification you choose) – or we should just leave the ethnic monitoring selection as "white" or "white British".  Why should the Irish have more importance than any other country either in the former British Isles or in the rest of Europe?


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