The Cabinet has agreed to hold a referendum to ease restrictions on divorce.

Voters will be asked to delete a Constitutional clause requiring a mandatory period of separation.

Currently, couples are required to have lived apart for four out of the previous five years before being granted a divorce.

The decision to hold a referendum follows from a Dáil bill tabled by Fine Gael's Josepha Madigan, before she was promoted to Cabinet, proposing to reduce the mandatory separation period to two years.

Voters will be asked to delete the clause altogether, leaving it to the Oireachtas to decide a time period.

It is expected the referendum will be held in May on the same day as the local and European elections.

Divorce was approved in a 1995 referendum by 50.28% to 49.72%.