The Central Statistics Office was yesterday inundated with applications for the 4,660 vacant enumerator positions for Census 2016.

Demand for the jobsexceeded expectations, and the CSO closed the registration process at lunchtime yesterday after just four hours, by which time more than 16,000 people had recorded their interest in the positions.

A spokesperson for the CSO said that it originally expected it could take a number of days to reach 15,000 applications: “In advance of Census 2011, it took 36 hours to reach 15,000 applications.”

Anyone who registered to apply will be allowed to complete the application process, but the CSO will not accept any further applications.

All who apply will be interviewed. Enumerators are paid a fixed fee for the delivery and collection of census forms along with fixed allowances for training, home storage, Sunday work, terminal bonus and travel, and will earn approximately €2,400 for a 10-week period.

The next census will take place on Sunday, April 24, when over 2.3m forms will be delivered and collected over the 10 weeks.

However, the registration process was yesterday criticised by an organisation for older people, who said that the exclusion of anyone over 70 years of age from applying for the position is “ageist”.

Justin Moran, head of advocacy and communications at Age Action, said the Public Service Pension Act 2012 bars anyone over the age of 70 from joining the public service pension scheme, and the CSO refuses to accept applications from older workers because of this.

“These are 10-week contracts. No one is going to be on a public service pension when the census is complete,” he said.

“Pension contributions docked from the pay of census workers are returned to them when their contract is ends. We would strongly urge the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the CSO to try to find a solution that treats older applicants like anyone else.

“If the Government is serious about eliminating age discrimination, valuing the experience of all workers and promoting positive ageing, it should be ensuring that roles like these are open to older people,” he said.


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