As originally enacted, the Constitution included a ban on divorce, stating: 'No law shall be enacted providing for the grant of a dissolution of marriage'.
In 1986, a referendum to remove the ban was defeated after a bitter public campaign. The Labour Party asked voters to put the 'compassion' into the Constitution, while one group, bizarrely, stated that while no one could condone a husband who beat his wife, voting for divorce would allow these men to 'continue the crime' into a second relationship.
A second referendum was held in 1996, which passed by the slimmest of margins – just 9,110 votes separated both sides.
Irish Independent Supplement