Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has told Sinn Fein to forget about a border poll on a united Ireland.
The Fine Gael leader has insisted the timing is wrong for any vote on unity.
The Good Friday agreement made provisions for a border poll in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein are pressing for the vote to be called but Kenny has told Gerry Adams in the Irish parliament that now is not the time for such a poll.
Kenny said: “I think we have a lot of work to do both here and up North before people’s mentality and views change about the future of the island.
“It is a matter for the British government to decide whether to agree to have a Border poll now or not.
“Clearly if that were to happen, depending on the result, we would have to consider what would happen here, but I don’t think now is the time to do it.”
Adams raised the border poll issue in the Irish parliament during question time on Tuesday.
The Irish Times reports that Adams told Kenny that DUP Minister Arlene Foster had said her party may support his call for a Border poll under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.
Adams said: “A border poll is rhetorically at least one of the main aims of all the main parties.
“All of us have to work with our unionist neighbours to try and bring this about and there is a constitutional obligation on the Government to do so.”
In reply Kenny suggested to the Sinn Féin leader that Foster ‘might have a slightly different view than you’.
He added: “I understand that the DUP Minister was saying that you should be careful about what you wish for - that it might happen.
“The Government’s view is that a Border poll at this stage would be carried in a slightly different direction than you might wish.”
Adams then said ‘let’s test it; to which Kenny replied: “That’s the point, but I don’t think now is the time to do it.”