Despite delays in bringing forward a bill to legalise civil unions in the Republic of Ireland, a draft version has been circulated to government departments.

A bill outlining the new proposed legislation was expected to be published in March, with the legislation being introduced early this summer.

In November last year Sean Power, Ireland’s then-Minister of State for Equality, said that the government was keen to pass the new laws as soon as possible and that they didn’t anticipate any objection from the opposition.

However, the leader of Ireland’s Green Party, John Gormley, indicated that there are disagreements between the main governing party Fianna Fail and the Greens, their junior coalition partners.

Speaking at the launch of Dublin’s Pride festival, Mr Gormley said the delay in publishing the proposed new legislation was due to the complexity of the issue.

A recent change of Prime Minister and a Cabinet reshuffle have both added to the delays.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk that a draft scheme was circulated in March as promised, and that this is currently being finalised.

The government are taking the approach of “better to do things correctly rather than quickly.”

Although no date has been given, the bill is expected to be published soon.

The Greens support full gay marriage in Ireland, while the government contends that civil partnership is easier to achieve, because gay marriage would require a constitutional change that would split the country.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in the Republic of Ireland in 1993.

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