By Shelley Marsden
A new survey has revealed that the number of Irish atheists and agnostics will increase by 400 percent in ten years, and that Islam will become the country’s second biggest religion inside the next 30 years
The number of Irish atheists and agnostics has gone up by 400 percent in Ireland between 1991 and 2011 to a total of 277,237.
According to the poll by Gallup International, Ireland is now in the top ten of atheist nations worldwide.
Entitled the Global Index of Religion and Atheism, the poll asked 50,000 people in 57 countries: “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”
In 2011, 47% of Irish polled said they believed themselves to be religious, 44% not religious, and 10% convinced atheists. The global average has 59% of respondents self-identifying as religious, 23% as not religions, and 13% as convinced atheists.
New figures released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office also reveal that Islam at its current rate of expansion is set to become Ireland’s second most followed religion in the next 30 years.
Plans are in place within the next year to build Ireland’s largest mosque on Dublin’s north side, at the cost of more than $50million.
The Clongriffin center, three storeys high, will be the largest Islamic religious complex in the State and will also include a cultural centre, a school and apartment blocks.
The latest Census figures revealed that 84 percent of the Irish population describe themselves as Catholic, while 5 percent of the population describe themselves as Protestant.