THE DIVORCE REFERENDUM has passed this morning with a massive majority.
The vote passed by 82.1% (1,384,192 votes) to 17.9% (302,319 votes).
This means that couples will no longer be required to live apart for four years before they are allowed to divorce - with the length of time now being reduced to just two years.
At 5am today, the official result was announced after final counts came in from Galway City in the early hours of the morning.
The referendum on divorce was put to voters on Friday along with the European and local elections.
The ‘yes’ vote also means that foreign divorces are now to be officially recognised by the state.
Prior to the vote, couples were required to spend four out of the previous five years separated from their partner before they could get a divorce, but now those laws have been relaxed.
Divorce was legalised in Ireland in 1995 following a narrow referendum victory majority of just 50.3%, and the divorce system hadn’t changed at all in the time since.
Any changes to the Irish constitution must be supported by a majority of voters in a referendum.
The Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan said that this morning’s results shows that “there’s a deep well of kindness” in the people of Ireland and that the public have shown sympathy and solidarity with those going through tough personal situations.
“I think it’s a really strong endorsement from the Irish people for the referendum and it demonstrates their kindness and their understanding of the situation people find themselves in when they are separating or divorcing,” she said.
“I think there’s a deep well of kindness in the Irish people.
“It wasn’t about rocking the system. It was about humanising it.” She added.
Supporters of the law have said that the couples who are going through a split could be stuck in limbo while waiting for a divorce and risk raising tensions and hostility during the process.
Those against the proposal feel as if the changes could discourage many from trying to mend a failing relationship and could lead to an increase in ‘quickie divorces’.