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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Death rate shrinks since Rising - but diabetes fatalities double

Enda Kenny at the launch of ‘Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition’ at the
National Museum (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)
Enda Kenny at the launch of ‘Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition’ at the National Museum (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Ireland's death rate has plummeted in the century since 1916, but we have almost twice the number of deaths from diabetes today.

A new online resource from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has highlighted the vast differences between life today and during the Easter Rising.

The death rate in 1916 was around 16 deaths per 1,000 - more than double 2014's rate of 6.3 deaths per 1,000.

But the number of deaths from diabetes has almost doubled, with 239 dying from the disease in 1916 compared to 474 in 2014.

Suicide

Meanwhile, instances of reported suicide are seven times higher in Ireland today than they were in the early years of the 20th century.

There were 68 deaths by suicide in 1916, while there were 459 in 2014. However, suicide would have been under-reported in 1916.

The CSO's resource, Life in 1916 Ireland, also shows that housing in Dublin was as much of an issue as it is today.

Some 22pc of dwellings in the capital had 10 or more rooms, while over a third were one-room tenements.

"In Dublin, one-fifth of dwellings had 10 or more rooms and 36pc of dwellings were one-room tenements," CSO statistician, Helen Cahill, explained.

"For me, that jumped out - that Dublin was such a place of extremes. You had a large, very wealthy class - and then an even larger very poor class."

Ms Cahill added that census reports seen by the CSO also revealed that as many as eight people could be living in a one-room tenement.

"I remember finding one return and it was for a mum, a dad and eight children," she said.

"The two eldest children were girls aged 18 and 20. They were fish-dealers. Could you imagine them coming back at the end of the day, into the one-room tenement and the lack of sanitation and the living conditions they had?"

The project also revealed that more than 140 children under six were committed to industrial schools in Ireland in 1916, which Ms Cahill described as "heartbreaking".

"It isn't often that you get tears in your eyes in the CSO when you come across figures, but I did when I found those figures," she said.

The collection also features the census reports and details of key figures in the Rising. A chapter on Countess Markiewicz contains a striking note from an internal British Army debate on whether she should be executed following the Rising.

Dangerous

In the document, General John Maxwell describes the well-to-do countess as "blood-guilty and dangerous", adding: "We cannot allow our soldiers to be shot down by such like."

Moira Buckley, of the CSO information section, said Countess Markievicz's position as a female revolutionary confused many in the establishment, adding that she would have been viewed as "a total disgrace".

"It's not just the fact that she's a rebel, it's the fact that she's a woman rebel," she said.

"To be shot by a woman just wouldn't do."

The full collection of statistics, stories and infographics is now permanently available on www.cso.ie.

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