DETAILED census figures show that the Irish are no longer in the majority in large parts of the city centre.
The statistics show that the city’s population - excluding “county” suburbs like Raheen and Castletroy - was 86% Irish on April 10 last year, with 12% identifying themselves as being of another nationality.
Poles were by far the largest grouping and the 2572 resident on census night account for 4.5% of the city’s population.
Other EU countries accounted for over 3% of the total, as did those immigrants from Africa and Asia included in the “rest of the word” category.
But figures broken down into electoral divisions show the Irish have lost majority status in four wards.
Shannon A - which stretches from Mallow Street to William Street and O’Connell Street to the quays - was 17% Polish, with 15% from countries outside the EU.
Custom House - which includes the Arthurs Quay and George’s Quay areas and extends southeast to Mungret Street - had the highest Polish population of any ward - at 30%. Only 45% of people surveyed described themselves as Irish here, the lowest in the city.
It is in the Shannon B ward - which stretches from Mallow Street to Denmark Street and Parnell Street to O’Connell Street - that you will find Limerick’s largest African and Asian populations.
In these city blocks, almost one in three people included themselves in the rest of the world category and it here that 28.7% of people identified themselves as having a religion other than Roman Catholic.
This is the electoral division that includes the asylum seeker hostel on Glentworth Street.
The Irish form just 46% of the population in Dock A, which includes rented accommodation around the Dock Road, Steamboat Quay and Mount Kennett. This area is 16.5% Polish and almost 20% of residents were from outside the EU.
Only a few streets away - but a world away in terms of its national mix - was Dock C, which is bordered by Edward Street and South Circular Road, Wolfe Tone Street and Punches Cross. Here the non-Irish population was less than 8%.
It is the regeneration areas which are the most homogenuous in terms of nationality and where people were most likely to describe themselves as Catholic.
Mayor Gerry McLoughlin commented “diversity should be celebrated not rejected” and pointed to Limerick City Council’s anti-discrimination policies.
“We should treat people from minority groups with the same respect that you show other people and always challenge racist remarks and insults,” the mayor said.