Galway county council candidate Eoin Madden has warned of an “information vacuum” on the divorce referendum taking place this Friday while calling for a Yes vote.
The Independent candidate for Loughrea municipal district said that with the with the local and European elections taking place alongside the referendum “most people have barely had a chance to take it in”.
“There’s so much going on about the local and European elections. It’s important that people put party politics aside and look at what the referendum on divorce is about.”
When voters go to the polls on Friday they will be asked to vote on two proposals. One on the length of time a couple must be separated before a divorce, and another on recognising foreign divorces.
Currently the constitution stipulates that a couple must be separated for four of the five preceding years before a divorce can be granted.
The constitution also does not recognise foreign divorces where the marriage would still be legal under Irish law.
If voters choose Yes for these proposals, both of these measures will be removed from the constitution.
The government intends to legislate to replace the four year separation period with a two year period.
Eoin Madden has said that a lack of coverage of these of these issues could mean that voters who are dissatisfied with the government “might be tempted to vote ‘No’ to register their protest”.
Madden, who is married with three young children, has said that he supports a Yes vote on recognising foreign divorces and reducing the length of time people must be living apart.
“This is my personal view: it’s a sensitive and messy subject, but when people look at it, I hope they would agree that the current rules on divorce in the constitution are too strict.”
Comparing Ireland’s current situation with some of the scaremongering that took place in the previous divorce referendum he added “We haven’t seen a deluge of divorces that some people predicted since divorce was legalised in 1995.”
According to figures from the Central Statistics Office Ireland has the lowest divorce rate in Europe, with just 0.6 divorces per 1,000 head of the population as of 2015.
In the 1995 referendum which made divorce legal in Ireland for the first time, there was less than 1% in the difference between the Yes and No sides.
Voters will go to the polls to decide whether to further liberalise Ireland’s divorce laws this Friday, May 24.