Ireland to vote on divorce restrictions

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DUBLIN, Ireland

The Irish government has agreed to hold a referendum to ease the country’s restrictions on divorce following a bill tabled by Fine Gael’s Josepha Madigan, proposing to reduce the mandatory separation period to two years.

In a referendum, voters will be asked whether they want to scrap the mandatory period of separation that is required before a divorce can be granted.

The previous bill required couples to have lived apart for four out of the previous five years before being granted a divorce.

The referendum will also seek answers from the voters who will have the option of deleting the clause altogether, leaving it to the Dáil to decide a time period.

The mandatory separation period is enshrined in the Irish constitution, having been inserted in place of a ban on divorce that was removed in a referendum 24 years ago.

Divorce was approved in the Republic of Ireland in 1995 by 50.28% to 49.72%.

The referendum will be held in May on the same day as local government and European elections.