The image is that Ireland has no divorce. The reality is that we have.
20 years before divorce was introduced in Ireland under public referendum, the Late Late Show dedicated an entire show to the subject.
In this extract the debate opens with Nuala Fennell arguing the case for divorce. Fennell makes a plea for couples from broken marriages, who had no way out and were prohibited from re-marrying under the Irish constitution. Nuala Fennell argues that in Ireland marriage breakdown was generally a taboo subject, especially for Catholics who believe it to be a sacrament.
Parties to a civil divorce are no more likely to grow horns than are parties to a Catholic church annulment. They are all people with one thing in common. A broken marriage.
Continuing her argument for divorce Nuala Fennell provides two examples of real life cases. She further encourages a non-judgemental dialogue on the subject. Fennell argues that there needs to be a separation of church and state on the issue, as the law should represent all of the people.
I ask for the freedom of people to decide.
Nuala Fennell was a women's rights campaigner in the 1970's and set up Dublin's first refuge for battered women. She was elected Fine Gael TD for Dublin South in the 1981 General Election which resulted in a Fine Gael Labour coalition. Defeated in February 1982 the coalition returned to power in November of that year and Fennell was appointed Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with responsibility for Women's Affairs.
This episode of The Late Late Show presented by Gay Byrne was broadcast on 15 November 1975.