A poll of the Republic of Ireland’s gay community has revealed their voting intentions.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern asked the country’s President to dissolve Parliament at the end of April and a general election will be held on May 24th. It is expected to be a close race.

The survey of nearly 1,200 gay and lesbian people was carried out last year for scene magazine GCN.

20% of respondents said they would vote for the Labour party, and 16% for the Greens.

Fianna Fail have been in coalition government with the Progressive Democrats for ten years, but are expected to lose to Fianna Gael/Labour coalition.

Gay marriage is set to be an issue in the elections for the 166-seat Dáil Éireann.

Earlier this year an attempt by the opposition Labour party to bring forward legislation was blocked by the government.

Bill was debated in the Dáil in February and was well received by all political parties represented.

The government argued that the proposed Bill was vulnerable to constitutional challenge and that it should be postponed pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court in the Zappone case.

A lesbian couple, Drs Katherine Zappone and Anne Louise Gilligan, lodged an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court earlier this year challenging the High Court’s decision that their Canadian marriage is not valid.

The government promised to bring forward legislation to protect the rights of all unmarried couples, gay or straight, after the election.

Homosexuality was only decriminalised in the Republic of Ireland in 1993, but since then the country has embraced gay rights.

Both discrimination and incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation are illegal.

A recent opinion poll found 84% in favour of some sort of recognition for lesbian and gay couples.