USI supports a ‘Yes’ vote in divorce referendum

The call comes less than a week before the constitutional referendum

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has published an official statement in support of a “Yes” vote in the upcoming divorce referendum this Friday, 24 May. USI encourages students to vote in favor of the referendum which would abolish the requirement that a married couple in Ireland must live apart for 4 years prior to divorce.

According to USI’s statement, “Students recognise that these laws are outdated and in particular don’t take into account the number of Irish migrants that move their lives abroad and indeed divorce abroad, and are also cumbersome for many of those seeking to leave abusive relationships”.

Previously, USI campaigned for “Yes” votes in both the “Repeal the 8th” and the “Marriage Equality” referendums.

Commenting on USI’s stance, its President Síona Cahill stated that “the constitution is not the place to deal with the complexities of personal and familial relationships, and certainly no one gets married expecting to ever have to separate or divorce, but we need to update our mechanisms for supporting families through what is already a difficult situation”.

Cahill’s statement continued by noting “The necessary separation of a couple, for a myriad of reasons, with due regard for family and property, is never an easily taken decision, but one that is deemed best by those affected”.

She recognised the need to respect people’s decisions and to “make the process less traumatic, and shorter, for everyone involved. People need to be enabled to move on with their lives in the best way possible, and laws must be updated to reflect this. No one will have to apply after two years, but facilitates that if a couple wishes to do so”.

Cahill concluded by stating that “we are asking students to use their vote to show compassion to those who need it, and vote yes on this Friday 24th May”.

Jessica Hobbs Pifer

Jessica Hobbs Pifer is a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh Middle Eastern and European Languages and Cultures student.