A major rift has developed between Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his deputy Eamon Gilmore on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Labor Party leader Gilmore is supporting a yes vote on a proposed referendum on the subject in 2015.

He has argued that same-sex marriage is the ‘civil rights issue of our generation’ ahead of the referendum.

But Fine Gael leader Kenny has publicly admitted that he does not share Gilmore’s opinion on the issue as a split develops between the coalition parties.

Speaking at a briefing for political reporters, Kenny told the Sunday Independent: “I wouldn’t have the same opinion as the Tanaiste (deputy PM).

“It is a matter for debate and discussion. Obviously the Fine Gael party has a broad range on any piece of legislation. People are entitled to have their own views, of course.

“I wouldn’t have the same opinion as the Tanaiste. Don’t get me wrong, I support it and I will canvass for it,” he said.

Kenny told reporters that in his opinion, the single-biggest issue facing his government is jobs and employment as Ireland comes out of recession.

He added: “This is what politics is about. That is where the country thrives, that is where our economy will thrive. For me, my politics, the big thing is to get this country back to work. Everything flows from that.”

Kenny also revealed there is no date yet for the proposed referendum which Labor are keen to hold in 2015.

The PM added: “It is not decided yet when that referendum will be or what series of referendums we will do.

“I want to take careful note of the report on the last two referendums, particularly the makeup of the ballot paper.

“It is a matter for Government to decide whether we do a constitution day with three or four or five referenda on the one day as recommendations from the constitutional convention and allow that to happen.”