-7. LIFTING DIVORCE BAN
In 1995, by a narrow vote of 50.28 percent to 49.72 percent, Irish voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing divorce. The margin of victory was just 9,118 votes out of 1.63 million cast, prompting a recount which upheld the result. In 1986, Irish voters had rejected the divorce amendment by a 2-to-1 margin. According to political analysts, working-class residents of Dublin, the nation's capital, who accounted for one-third of Ireland's population, provided the crucial swing vote that determined the outcome. Analysts attributed the change in attitude since 1986 to several factors. Many cited as important the fact that the Irish government had passed 18 laws since the failed referendum covering property rights, child custody, child support and other issues related to divorce, because many people voting "no" in 1986 said that they did so because of inadequate laws covering the divisions of property in a divorce. Many analysts also pointed to the Irish government's 500,000-dollar promotional 'campaign in favour of lifting the divorce ban as an important factor in the amendment's passage. Opponents of the amendment, including the influential Roman Catholic church, said that they would challenge the result in the courts, pointing to the fact that the government's expenditure of public funds to promote the amendment was ruled illegal by the Irish Supreme Court. The amendment would allow people to divorce only if they have lived separately for at least four of the previous five years. There were approximately 80,000 legally separated people in Ireland in 1995. With Ireland's vote, Malta became the only European country to have a ban on divorce.
The likely cause of the change in attitude in Ireland in favour of allowing divorce was, according to the passage, a result of ........... .
a breakdown in family values over the previous nine years
encouragement from the Irish Supreme Court
the influential Catholic Church
several new laws covering factors connected with divorce
pressure from the European Union
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