Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to address the nation live on TV about the European fiscal treaty.
The speech will take place on Sunday in response to Sinn Fein, which is holding its Ard Fheis at the weekend, when leader Gerry Adams is expected to argue against the treaty in his own live address.
A Government spokesman said the length of the Taoiseach's speech will depend on how long Mr Adams speaks, in order to ensure both the "Yes" and "No" campaign are given the same airtime.
The referendum to decide whether Ireland will ratify the fiscal compact is due just four days later on May 31.
This will be Mr Kenny's second State of the Nation speech in just six months. He took to the television in December ahead of the Government's Budget announcement to prepare the public for a tough year ahead.
It was the first such address in 25 years. Former taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald was the last to make a State of the Nation in the 1980s and only three other taoisigh before him did so in times of grave political importance.
News that Mr Kenny is to give the speech comes after fresh calls from Sinn Fein for him to take part in a televised debate on the fiscal treaty.
The Taoiseach has continued to reject invitations from the opposition party and TV3 to take part, citing previous bad blood with the broadcaster's resident veteran journalist Vincent Browne.