Ireland will hold a referendum on gay marriage in 2014 according to Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore.

The deputy PM has confirmed that the coalition government will put proposed legislation to the public next year.

The Irish Independent reports that Gilmore’s comments are the first definite indicator from the government on the potentially divisive poll date.

A government constitutional think-thank earlier this year voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage.

The Constitutional Convention is poised send its report on gay marriage to the Government. Ministers will then have four months to decide on their response.

Sources have confirmed that the coalition will agree to a referendum on gay marriage next year.

Gilmore told an event organised by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) that it will ‘realistically’ happen in 2014.

He said: “I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime.

“The commitment we have given is that once the Constitutional Convention presents its report in respect of the part of the Constitutional Convention dealing with same-sex marriage, that report is going to be tabled I think this month, formally tabled.

“There is then a four-month period for the Government to consider the report of the Constitutional Convention.

“We have committed that we will make a decision within that four-month period on what would be our response to the Constitutional Convention.

“Then in the case of a referendum on same-sex marriage, it would then be an issue of when that takes place after that.

“I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime.”

The gay marriage referendum is likely to be held alongside votes on other issues recommended by the Constitutional Convention including decreasing the voting age to 16.

Same-sex partnerships, entered into legally in other nations, will be recognized in IrelandGuardian