Gay marriage activists are concerned if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Republic of Ireland and not the north, then it would be a 'great embarrassment'.
Ireland will be putting marriage equality to the public vote in 2014, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.
The Labor Party leader has confirmed the coalition government will put forward the gay rights legislation to the public in the form of a referendum next year.
The announcement follows after the Irish Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage.
Speaking at an event organized by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Gimore said it would ‘realistically’ happen soon.
‘I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime,’ he said.
‘The commitment we have given is that once the Constitutional Convention presents its report in respect of the part of the Constitutional Convention dealing with same-sex marriage, that report is going to be tabled I think this month, formally tabled.
‘There is then a four-month period for the Government to consider the report of the Constitutional Convention.’
Gilmore added: ‘We have committed that we will make a decision within that four-month period on what would be our response to the Constitutional Convention.
‘Then in the case of a referendum on same-sex marriage, it would then be an issue of when that takes place after that.
‘I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime.’
The gay marriage referendum is likely to be held on other progressive suggestions recommended by the Constitutional Convention including decreasing the voting age to 16.
In Northern Ireland, members of the legislative Assembly narrowly voted against same-sex marriage in April.
Gavin Boyd, from Equal Marriage Northern Ireland, said the south was moving a lot faster than the north.
Speaking to Gay Star News, he said: ‘I would like to think if Northern Ireland was the only jurisdiction in these islands without marriage equality, it would be a great embarrassment.’
Support for the issue in both Northern Ireland and the Republic are at an all-time high, with one poll suggesting 79% of the population support same-sex marriage.