Speaking at an event hosted by Google and Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore says Ireland’s “economic progress has to be embedded in a free, open, progressive society.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore on Friday said: “We have to construct new ways to build our vision of society where social solidarity and prosperity go hand in hand”.

He also acknowledged that while “Ireland today is a modern outward-looking society, our progress is not complete. There is still work to do.”

“We cannot afford to put our society into suspended animation. We must still turn our face towards progress…We must continue to build a modern Ireland based on prosperity and openness, solidarity and freedom”, concluded Mr Gilmore.

GLEN chair, Kieran Rose added: “Public, political and now corporate support are evolving and recognising that it is good for individuals, for families, for a country, and now for business, to ensure that lesbian and gay people are treated equally.

Last November, Mr Gilmore said that the “time has come” for Ireland to introduce marriage rights for gay couples. “I don’t believe we should postpone what is a human right,” he told RTE radio.

Civil partnerships only became legal in the country in February 2011.