Cabinet Approves Divorce Referendum


The government has approved plans for a referendum to change the Irish Constitution to make divorce more easily available. The Cabinet formally signed off on the wording for the referendum that will be put to the people on May 24 - the same day as the local and European elections. This will be Ireland’s third constitutional referendum on divorce.


Voters will be asked whether they wish to remove the minimum time limit for separating couples to have lived apart before they can divorce. Removing the minimum “pause period” from the Constitution will allow it to be dealt with in legislation.


Currently, the Constitution dictates that people must be living apart for four out of five years in order to apply for a divorce. The Government plans to progress a law which would reduce that to two out of three years. Future governments will be free to reduce or increase the time limit as they see fit if the referendum is passed, which may open the door for so-called quickie divorces.


It is expected that the referendum, which has cross-party support, will carry. It will also simplify and modernise the language in the Constitution relating to foreign divorces.

Irish Independent. March 27.

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