Divorce capital: Limerick has highest national rate of marriage breakdown

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Almost 30 decrees of divorce were granted in Limerick last week

NEWLY released census figures have revealed that Limerick city has the highest rate of marital breakdown in the country, while the number of people listed as divorced in the city rose by more than 30% in the period since the last census in 2006.

And the Limerick Leader has learned that there were more than 30 applications for divorce heard in a single day in the Circuit Court in Limerick last Friday.

A local solicitor who deals with family law cases told the Leader that more than 30 applications for consent or uncontested divorce were heard in front of Judge Tom O’Donnell in the Circuit Court last Friday.

Meanwhile, the first definitive results of the 2011 census, undertaken just less than a year ago on April 10, reveal that while the population of Limerick (city and county) increased by 4.2% from 2006, the population of Limerick city actually fell by 4.5% to 57,106.

However, while the population decreased in the city, the rate of marital breakdown rose sharply by 13.5% - the highest rate of increase in the country.

The national rate is 9.7%.

And comparing the figures for the number of people listed as divorced in 2006 as compared to 2011, the figure rose by more than 30%.

The numbers of people listed as divorced rose by 482 in the intervening period. This figure is complicated however by the fact that the city boundary has been changed since the previous census took place in 2006, making an exact increase difficult to determine, but it is estimated in the region of 30%.

Nationally, the number of divorcees rose by 150% from the 2002 census, pushing the marital breakdown rate up. A spokesperson for the Central Statistics Office said that the rate is calculated by adding the number of people who are listed as separated or divorced and expressing them as a percentage of people who were ever married previously.

The publication, called This is Ireland – Highlights from Census 2011 Part 1, looks at the overall change in the population since the last census in 2006. It also provides first results on age and marriage, households and families, as well as including results on nationality, foreign languages, the Irish language, religion and housing.

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician at the CSO, said the report “aims to present a picture of Ireland as it was in April 2011, less than twelve months ago”.

The full report is available on the CSO website at www.cso.ie/census and is accompanied by a range of interactive web tables.