TAOISEACH Enda Kenny insists a referendum cannot be postponed without causing a general election.
Mr Kenny was responding to calls for the children's referendum to be put back in the wake of this week's Supreme Court decision.
"It's perfectly clear legally that were you to try to do that you'd have to call a general election," Mr Kenny said.
The issue of postponing a referendum was also raised during the campaign on the fiscal treaty earlier this year, but the Referendum Commission at the time backed up Mr Kenny's view.
The law setting out the rules on referendums is set out in the Referendum Act of 1994.
When a referendum bill is passed by the Oireachtas, the Environment Minister makes an order setting the date for polling day.
"Once that order is made, the only circumstance in which it may be changed, according to the Referendum Act 1994, is if a general election is called," the Referendum Commission said.
"If a general election is called, the minister may change the referendum date to the date of the proposed general election.
"There are no other circumstances under the Referendum Act 1994 in which the minister has the power to postpone a referendum nor has the minister the power to simply rescind the order to hold a referendum."