It’s just over twenty years since Ireland voted to allow divorce. The “Hello Divorce, Bye Bye Daddy” was a bitterly divisive referendum campaign. In the end less than 10,000 votes separated the two sides.

The RTÉ Investigations Unit has analysed two decades of figures which show more than 100,000 people have availed of divorce since its introduction.

Even if the 1995 campaign is best remembered for the infamous slogan ‘Hello Divorce, Bye Bye Daddy’, the exponential growth in broken marriages predicted then has not materialised.

Instead, like most things marital breakdown has settled into a reasonably steady pattern, with the number of divorces granted actually beginning to drop in recent years.In the years since, the number of divorces granted each year has mostly fallen and in 2014 there were 2,724 granted.

As Christmas is just ahead of us and family relationships can reach breaking point I came across this judgment by an American Judge who had blunt words for divorcing parents as follows

Your children have come into this world because of the two of you.  Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent.  If so that is your problem and your fault.

No matter what you think of the other party or what your family thinks of the other party these children are one half of each of you.  Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an idiot his father is or what a fool his mother is or how bad an absent parent is or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child that half of him is bad.

That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child.  That is not love.  That is possession.  If you do that to your children you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them to pieces because that is what you are doing to their emotions.

I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children.  Think more about your children and less about yourselves and make yourselves a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish or your children will suffer.

I feel if all divorcing parents involved in relationship difficulties read this it should help them focus on someone other than themselves.

Despite the worst fears of the ‘No’ campaign in 1995, divorce has remained – by international standards at least – something of a rarity in Ireland.

The most recent statistical survey by the United Nations showed that only a handful of countries including Guatemala, Peru, and Bosnia & Herzegovina had a lower rate of divorce than Ireland (0.6 per 1,000 of population) in 2012.

The rate of divorce in the UK is at least three times higher than that in Ireland. In the United States, it’s four times higher.

So this Christmas mind your partner and your children!