The average age of gay couples entering civil partnerships in Ireland was more than a decade older than the average age of heterosexual couples marrying, figures show.

According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) the average age of partners in the 536 couples entering civil partnership was 44.3, (44.7 for men and 43.8 for women). This compares with 34.6 years for a groom entering marriage and 32.5 years for a bride.

536 couples entered into civil partnerships in 2011, the first year they became available in the Republic. In total since then, 1,088 lesbian and gay couples had entered civil partnerships across every county in Ireland. A further 250 couples had given notice by the end of June 2013 that they will enter civil partnerships later this year.

Kieran Rose, the Chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said: “Civil partnerships are a resounding success since they became available in 2011. Since then, over 1,000 lesbian and gay couples across every county in Ireland have celebrated their love and commitment to each other in front of family, friends and neighbours. In doing so, these couples have contributed enormously to the remarkable progress towards marriage and full constitutional equality for lesbian and gay couples and families.”

The Irish Constitutional Convention overwhelmingly voted in favour of equal marriage in April and the government has until November to decide to accept the proposal and give a timetable for a referendum.