Saturday 21 September 2019

'This is about respecting marriage,' says minister

Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan. Photo: Collins
Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan. Photo: Collins

Allison Bray

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan says the divorce referendum is needed because there are no guarantees in life - or marriage.

"People often don't realise that divorce is one of the most emotionally traumatic, devastating experiences for people. It takes years to get over it.

"This is about showing compassion and humanity to those people who find themselves in situations where their marriage has broken down," she told the 'Floating Voter' podcast on Independent.ie.

Under the proposed amendment to the Constitution, there must still be no chance of a reconciliation when a divorce is granted.

"There has to be irretrievable breakdown of their marriage, so no prospect of reconciliation. That is still going to remain in the Constitution and also proper provision will be made for both spouses and any dependant children. Those comforts, if you like, are still going to be there.

"The time limit, I think, is reasonable," she said of the proposed two-year mandatory separation period.

"It's in line with other jurisdictions. If you think that Italy and Greece and other jurisdictions have no time limits at all. Spain is a year for example.

"So I think two years is a sufficient amount of time. It's a reasonable amount of time. One year I thought was a bit quick. When I did the research on this, the end of a marriage is a grief for people."

The former family lawyer said there were fears during the last divorce referendum of a subsequent deluge of divorce cases, which never happened.

"We still have the lowest marital breakdown (rates)... It's one in 10," she said.

"I don't see that happening. I think one of the great things about the Irish people is that we really respect marriage.

"This is about respecting marriage. But it's also about helping those people who find themselves in a situation where their marriage hasn't worked out."

Irish Independent

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