It is barely 23 years since divorce was made legal in Ireland, as a result of a referendum to remove a constitutional ban.
The referendum was carried by less than 10,000 votes, which shows how far we have come in recent decades
At the time, there was much speculation as to what form divorce should take but, in the end, the general consensus was that a ‘no fault’ system would be less contentious and easier to administer, as well as cheaper to secure for those involved.
It was also more humane by encouraging a more agreeable parting of the ways.
That has proven to be the case, but the demand of five-year separation has proved onerous for many couples so the proposal of a referendum to reduce that period is welcome.
The proposal for a referendum follows a private members’ bill by Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht
Josepha Madigan, to shorten the requirement to live apart from four out of five years to two out of three years.
However, the question of a time limit should be left to legislators.
It does not belong in our Constitution.