The Irish government will hold off on a gay marriage referendum until later next year, despite overwhelming support for change from a powerful constitutional forum.
The potentially divisive issue has been put on to the political agenda after 79% of delegates at the Constitutional Convention voted in favour of it.
It is made up of 66 citizens, 33 politicians from both sides of the border, and an independent chair, Tom Arnold. Member politicians from Northern Ireland include Louth TD Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Alban Mag.
Gay rights campaigners hailed the historic vote that could pave the way for legislating for gay marriage in the Republic. But the Coalition is in no rush to hold a referendum on the issue as it juggles other sensitive political issues including abortion and the abolition of the Seanad. Labour and Fine Gael are wary of running an emotive campaign at the same time as local elections, which will be a barometer of the Coalition's popularity come May next year.