A survey of married couples in the first seven years of their marriage has found that 58% of them co-habited before getting married.

The study of 712 couples from Catholic and other backgrounds was carried out for the Catholic Marriage Care Service, ACCORD. Almost 90% of respondents were Catholic.

When asked if the results had implications for Catholic thinking on pre-marital sex, the Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, said that while questions might be asked following the survey, he accepted the teaching of the Catholic Church.

98% of the couples surveyed said they intended to remain married to the same person for the rest of their lives.