In 1986 the first attempt to remove the constitutional ban on divorce in Ireland took place.

Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald announces the government's plan to remove the constitutional ban on divorce in Ireland. The government proposes to replace the ban with an article setting out the principles of which would govern the drafting of divorce legislation. A court would only be able to grant a divorce if a marriage has failed for at least five years, there's no reasonable possibility of reconciliation, and adequate provision is made for dependent spouses and children.

The bill was supported by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition parties. At a press conference announcing plans for the referendum, Labour leader Dick Spring says,

None of us like the breakdown of a marriage but we know it's a reality and we have to deal with it.

The date has not yet been set for a referendum but the government is hopeful it will take place before the end of June.

The referendum took place on 26 June 1986 and was rejected with over 63% voting no.

An RTÉ News report by Donal Kelly broadcast on 23 April 1986.