The Irish Central Statistics Office has reported that the number of gay couples entering into civil partnerships has dropped by a third since its introduction last year.

The new statistics show that 120 same-sex couples registered into a civil partnership in the second quarter of 2012, down from 184 in the same time period in 2011.

The fall isn’t unexpected, gay couples have only been able to have civil partnerships since 2011 so there were many who had waited years or decades to have their relationships recognised by the state.

In July, PinkNews reported on research showing that gay civil partnerships make up 2.6 percent of registered relationships in Ireland.

448 of the 734 couples who have entered civil partnerships are gay men, 286 were lesbian.

50 percent of the unions have taken place in Dublin but every county in the country, which has a population of 4.4 million, has had at least one gay partnership.

Last month, the Irish deputy prime minister (Tánaiste) Eamon Gilmore said he would like to see a referendum on same-sex marriage “as soon as possible”.

Mr Gilmore said his own view was that the “time has come” for Ireland to introduce marriage rights for gay couples. “I don’t believe we should postpone what is a human right.”