Number of non-religious weddings almost same as Catholic, figures show

CSO data show 43.6% of ceremonies Catholic compared with 41% civil or Humanist

Non-religious weddings in Ireland are approaching parity with those which take place in the Catholic Church, according to latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

Figures for 2019 show that couples choosing to be married in the Catholic Church accounted for 43.6 per cent of Irish marriages in 2019, compared to 41 pe r cent who opted for a non-religious ceremony (Civil and Humanist).

Catholic marriages in Ireland accounted for 47.6 per cent of all marriages in 2018, for 51 per cent in 2017, 53.7 per cent in 2016. The equivalent figure in 1990 was 93.2 per cent.

Meanwhile the percentage of couples opting for a non-religious marriage ceremony grew to 41 per cent last year. This figures includes 31.6 per cent civil marriages and 9.4 per cent with the Humanist Association. It is up from 38.8 per cent in 2018, 37 per cent in 2017, and 35 per cent in 2016. The figure for non-religious marriages in 1990 was 3.7 per cent.


Based on these recent figures advocacy group Education Equality has "urgently" called on the Government to compel schools to confine religious instruction to a period a outside core school hours.

This, it said, would uphold the constitutional and human rights of all families to freedom of religion and belief.

Policy Officer Paddy Monahan asked "how much evidence does the Government need before it responds to the calls for change from parents the length and breadth of the country?"

It was time “for schools to respect and celebrate diversity. There is a widening disconnect between our denominational school system and the actual beliefs of young families,” he said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times