TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is set to give the go-ahead for a gay marriage referendum at cabinet today without committing to a date.
Labour is still pushing to have such a referendum held late next year or in early 2015, but Fine Gael has been far less enthusiastic about devoting time to the issue after the divisive abortion legislation.
Some Fine Gael backbenchers are now calling for priority to be given to job creation rather than a gay marriage referendum.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter – who will be bringing the memo to cabinet – has declared that 2014 will be a "referendum-free" year due to referendum fatigue among the public.
However, he said that he expected that such a referendum would be held in the lifetime of the Government, with 2015 now most likely.
A government source said that there was likely to be agreement on holding a gay marriage referendum at today's cabinet meeting but not on a date.
Mr Kenny will be conscious of the reluctance among Fine Gael backbenchers who have recently come through a divisive abortion bill vote and a defeat in the Seanad abolition referendum.
FG Mayo TD John O'Mahony said that while he was not opposed to holding a gay marriage referendum, the Government's priority had to be job creation over the next two years.
"I think we can't afford to get side tracked," he said.
Fine Gael Longford-Westmeath TD James Bannon said that the issues in his constituency clinics yesterday included the property tax, windfarms and people in dire mortgage trouble.
"Not a single person has mentioned it (gay marriage) to me," he said.