Galway county has the lowest national percentage of births outside marriage, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
At 22.5 per cent, the Galway county rate was substantially lower than the national average which was 33 per cent.
National figures for first time mothers out of wedlock reached 44 per cent, and this is worrying says director of the Iona Institute David Quinn who says that the Government must “begin strongly promoting marriage again if it is really interested in child welfare”.
Mr Quinn adds that “the State has done little or nothing in recent years to promote marraige which is the most pro-child of all institutions.”
Limerick city had the highest percentage of births outside marraige at 54.4 per cent, Cork city was next with 49.6 per cent of all births there out of wedlock. Waterford was third on the list with 46.6 per cent, while Dublin came next with 46 per cent.
Ireland still has a lower birth rate outside marriage than the UK where the figure is 40.1 per cent. Of the 15 EU Member States which joined before the Nice Treaty 39.2 per cent of children are born out of wedlock.