The Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, has announced that the country will hold a referendum on equal marriage next year.

The announcement comes after a report by the Constitutional Convention back in April, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage.

Mr Gilmore announced that the referendum will take place next year, reports GCN.

The National Lesbian and Gay Federation, welcomed the announcement, and issued a statement.

Olivia McEvoy, Chair of the NLGF, stated: “The NLGF has always asserted that the issue of marriage equality should not require a public vote as marriage is a fundamental human and civil right that should be open to all citizens of this country. However, as the government has affirmed the need for a referendum on this issue, we will firmly give our support to the campaign to secure a Yes vote on the day of the poll.”

The public polls on this issue have shown consistent and ever growing support for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“We take great heart from the overwhelming vote at the Constitutional Convention last April to positively affirm the right of LGBT couples to marry under our Constitution, a result consistent with numerous public opinion surveys on the issue,” she continued.

Earlier this year a poll commissioned by Marriage Equality Ireland showed that the percentage of people in support of equal marriage had risen by 12%, since 2008, and in 2012 was 75%.