Proposed amendment to the constitution to allow separated couples to divorce and remarry.
The coalition government of Fine Gael and Labour announced the wording of the proposed divorce amendment on 13 September 1995. There was a show of coalition solidarity as the referendum campaign effectively got underway. Irish law has failed to provide for those whose marriages had effectively broken down. According to Tánaiste Dick Spring, that was the net issue outstanding in the reform of family law. Speaking at a press conference, he said:
The Government is convinced that to continue to deny such a right would represent a grave injustice to many thousands of individuals. That is why we will be asking the people of Ireland on Friday November 24th to decide in favour of change, to remove the constitutional ban on divorce, and to replace it with a carefully considered wording.
The 58-year-old ban on divorce was provided for in the 1937 Constitution. Law Reform Minister Mervyn Taylor said the government was not introducing a divorce culture, while Taoiseach John Bruton believes the referendum will be carried.
Donal Kelly and Una Claffey report for RTÉ News on 13 September 1995.