THE number of civil partnerships has dipped by a third since it was introduced last year.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show only 120 gay couples tied the knot in the second quarter of 2012, down from 184 in the same period of 2011.
However, the fact civil partnership only became legally possible in 2011 means the numbers of gay couples getting hitched last year may have been significantly higher because many had been waiting years for the option.
Among those to wed soon after same-sex civil partnerships became legal was TV3 presenter Alan Hughes, who married boyfriend Karl Broderick in September 2011.
In total, 738 couples have entered civil partnership since it was introduced early last year – though that's only till mid-2012, meaning the tally could soon hit 1,000.
And 10 babies have been born within civil partnerships since they were introduced.
The Vital Statistics report from the CSO also shows that marriage remains in vogue with 8,248 people getting hitched in the first six months of 2012, which was slightly more than the same time last year and 12pc higher than in 2003.
The annual marriage rate is now 4.7 per 1,000 people, which is nearly 50 times higher than the annual civil partnership rate of 0.1 per 1,000.
Figures also show that, overall, there are fewer babies being born in Ireland than there were a year ago but, happily, the death rate is also down.
There were 37,271 babies born in the first six months of 2012, around 1,000 fewer than the same time last year.
Mothers continue to get older, with 29.9 now the average age to have your first child, though Carlow mums are the youngest at 26.7 and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown mums are the oldest at almost 32.
And, according to statistics released by the ESRI yesterday, almost 29pc of women giving birth were aged 35 years or older – and just 2pc of women giving birth were aged 19 years or less.
Almost 24pc of births in 2011 were to mothers born outside Ireland, compared to almost 25pc the previous year.
The CSO report found that the number of births outside marriage continued to increase to over a third of the total, with Limerick having the highest total of unwed new parents at 58pc.
Fewer than 100 girls aged under 18 had babies this year, while 1,000 women aged 40 or over gave birth.
The ESRI report also revealed that the death rate for newborn babies has dropped by more than a quarter in the past decade.
The death rate fell had fallen from 8.4 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2002 to 6.1pc in 2011 – coming at a time when the birth rate increased.
There were 7,080 deaths overall in the second quarter of 2012 which was 2.7pc lower than the same time last year, but higher than the corresponding period of 2007.
Births outnumbered deaths by over 10,000 in the period, resulting in an estimated population of 4.585m in April 2012.
Overall last year, the number of births fell to 74,377, compared with 75,600 in 2010. This represents a fall of 1.6pc since 2010, or 2.2pc since the peak.
The leading cause of death varies by age, with heart disease the main cause for those over 75.