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Charlie Flanagan favours removing divorce waiting time from Constitution

The Justice Minister favours completely removing the divorce waiting time from the Constitution.

Charlie Flanagan, plans to hold a referendum on divorce on the same day as the local and European elections next year.

Minister Josepha Madigan had previously bought forward a Bill that would cut the waiting time for a divorce from four years to two and this option, along with the possibility of removing the waiting time entirely, are now being mulled over by the Government.

Speaking at an event to mark the 1918 election, which gave women a vote for the first time, Mr Flanagan said: "There are currently two options, one of which is to move in entirety reference to timeframe within the Constitution although keeping safeguards and the second would be to reduce the time frame in the Constitution."

He said he was now in consultation about this and intends to go to Government with proposals early in the new year. However, he will be pushing to hold this referendum in conjunction with the local and European elections in May.

Mr Flanagan said to meet this deadline "we would have to act pretty smartly in the new year" but he added that this is something that he intends on doing.

My personal preference would be to remove reference to a timeframe within the Constitution entirely.

"I am conscious that we need political preferences and that is why I am in listening mode.

"I am listening to the views of people in other parties. I am listening to my own party and will make a decision within a number of weeks," he said.

However, Mr Flanagan provided less clarity on a referendum to remove the reference to a woman's place in the home from the Constitution, which was due to be held on the same day as the presidential election in October.

He said he expects to bring proposals "charting the direction of travel" of this referendum early next year.