The Government has clashed with the Catholic hierarchy over claims teachers who uphold Catholic policy on marriage will be taken to court if the same-sex marriage referendum is passed.
With just three days to go to polling, fears are growing within the 'Yes' campaign that uncertainty around issues such as surrogacy could see the referendum fail. These concerns were heightened after the latest opinion polls showed a fall-off in support for a 'Yes' vote.
In a series of letters read out at Masses yesterday, bishops sent out a last-ditch message urging the faithful to vote 'No'.
Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan warned of critical times for marriage.
"It will become increasingly difficult to speak or teach in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman. There could be lawsuits against individuals and groups who do not share this vision," he said.
He also asked: "What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage or about homosexual acts?"
Communications Minister Alex White has rejected the claim.
"There is absolutely no basis whatsoever for any suggestion that the church - the Catholic Church or any church - would be constricted or constrained in any way," he said.
Tomorrow's final televised debate is seen as a "make or break" for the 'Yes' side to nail what it says is a bid by the 'No' side to distort the meaning of the referendum. Mr White will represent the Government after Health Minister Leo Varadkar was pushed aside.
Writing in today's Irish Independent, Mr Varadkar appeals to members of all religious faiths to go out and vote, but not to do so from a position of fear.