Ireland’s highest divorce rates? They’re in Carlow, Dublin and Tipperary

Kilkenny, Leitrim and Monaghan have the State’s lowest application rates

Divorce in Ireland: 4,162 applications were made in 2016, down from 4,290 in 2015. Photograph: Digital Vision/Getty

Divorce in Ireland: 4,162 applications were made in 2016, down from 4,290 in 2015. Photograph: Digital Vision/Getty

 

Co Carlow has the highest divorce rate in the State, followed by Dublin, Tipperary, Clare and Louth, according to the latest figures from the Courts Service.

More than 4,100 couples around Ireland applied to divorce in 2016; a further 1,300 or so applied to separate. Dublin had the most divorce applications, at 1,411; Leitrim, the Republic’s least populated county, had the fewest, at 17. It also recorded one of the State’s lowest rates of divorce, joining Cos Kilkenny and Monaghan in having just 60 per cent of the national average of 87.4 applications per 100,000 people. Only nine of the 26 counties had rates higher than the national average.

The overall number of divorce applications dipped in 2016: the 4,162 recorded cases compared with 4,290 in 2015. The figures also reveal that 3,197 divorces were granted in 2016, almost a third of them in Dublin; 722 of the 1,324 applications for judicial separation in 2016 were granted.

Judicial separation was most common in Cos Cavan, Cork and Kerry, and least common in Cos Meath, Roscommon and Wicklow.

There were also 32 applications for nullity, with 14 granted; reasons for a court to declare a marriage null and void include a lack of mental capacity, a lack of consent, and one spouse’s being “incapable of sexual intercourse”. The highest numbers were in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The State also saw its final 61 civil partnerships in 2016.

Ireland’s divorce rate remains very low by international standards; only a handful of countries had lower rates in the most recent UN rankings.

The waiting time for a divorce could change soon. Couples currently need to have been separated for four years before they can apply for a divorce. A referendum planned for 2019 could cut that to just two years.