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Carlow has the highest rate of divorce in Ireland

Co Carlow has the highest divorce rate in the country, according to figures from the Circuit Court.

Carlow has been at the number one spot from 2015 up to 2017, with Dublin occupying the spot from 2010 to 2014.

Leitrim has the lowest rate of divorce for 2017 while Kilkenny, Monaghan and Cavan previously had the lowest rate.

The figures, obtained by the Irish Times via the Circuit Court, show there were 68,453 applications for divorce in Ireland between 2000 and 2017.

The most recent Census revealed that the number of divorced people in Ireland increased by 16,125 to 103,895 in 2016..

The research comes before Friday's vote in a referendum regarding the length of time couples have lived apart before they can be granted a divorce.

Before a court can grant a divorce at present, the parties must have been married and living apart for four out of the previous five years before the application is made.

The Referendum Commission says the proposal "is about two issues relating to divorce, namely how long people must be living apart before applying for a divorce, and the recognition of foreign divorces.

"There will be one question on the ballot paper and voters can either vote Yes to allow both changes, or No to reject both changes.

"Voters cannot accept one change and reject the other."

If a Yes vote is carried, the Constitution "will no longer require a person applying for a divorce to have lived apart from his or her spouse for at least four years".

In the second aspect of the vote, while the Oireachtas already has the power to make laws recognising foreign divorces, a Yes vote means this power will be made explicit in the Constitution.

For more information on the referendum vote, see the Referendum Commission website.

The Government says the public is now beginning to tune into what is at stake for the referendum.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan believes the public is well-informed.

"I do think people are aware of the issues," said Ms Madigan.

"I think the approach we have taken is reasonable. There is cross-party support for it.

"Many of the NGOs support it, which is important. So I think people will come out and vote."