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#Elections2019: Passing of divorce referendum a 'testament to the compassion and fairness of Irish people'

Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to ease restrictions on divorce and recognise foreign divorces.

In a landslide vote, the second biggest since the Good Friday agreement, the country voted 82% Yes to 18% No in the divorce referendum.

Returning officer Barry Ryan announcing the result at Dublin castle at 4.30am this morning after a delay at the Galway count centre.

The waiting time for a divorce will be reduced from four to two years, while foreign divorces will be recognised under Irish law for the first time

The final result was 82.07% Yes and 17.93% No.

The highest vote was in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown at 86.7% and the lowest was in Monaghan at 75.04%.

It’s a stark contrast to the last divorce referendum in 1995 which lifted the ban on divorce by a margin of 50.28% to 49.72%.

Culture Minister and Fine Gael’s Divorce Campaign director of elections Josepha Madigan says the referendum result is not about rocking the system but about humanising it.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, welcomed the outcome, saying it was "a very decisive result with a consistent, high level of support right across the country".

“The result is testament to the compassion and fairness of Irish people in every part of the country. The primary purpose of the referendum was to reduce the emotional and financial distress experienced by couples whose marriages have sadly broken down irretrievably by allowing the Oireachtas to legislate.

Over time, it has become very clear that complex questions of social policy are best dealt with through detailed legislation in the Oireachtas. Core protections for marriage will remain in our Constitution.

“The Government wants to ensure that the process for obtaining a divorce is fair, dignified and humane, and allows both parties to move forward with their lives within a reasonable timeframe.

"It is therefore my intention to reduce the living apart period to a minimum of two out of the preceding three years and to do so by way of ordinary legislation, which I will bring forward as soon as possible. This proposal has widespread cross-party support in the Oireachtas," he said.

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