Leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin has said that as far as he can see, the church would like to continue performing the civil side of solemnising weddings, despite the outcome of the marriage referendum.

Dr Martin said the question is; "Does the State wish the church to continue in that role and will it be constitutional for priests to do so?"

Speaking to journalists in Maynooth at the end of the hierarchy's three-day summer meeting which was to deal with the fallout from the referendum, Dr Martin said they were still awaiting the publication of legislation giving effect to the Yes verdict in the plebiscite.

The Primate also denied that the bishops' submission to the Constitutional Convention two years ago amounted to a threat to abandon civil solemnising if same-sex marriage was legalised.

In that document, the Irish Bishops' Conference said: "Any change to the definition of marriage would create great difficulties and in the light of this, if there were two totally different definitions of marriage, the Church could no longer carry out the civil element".

For a wedding to be legally recognised by the State, it must be solemnised by a person on the register of solemnisers.

About 4,300 of the 5,600 people on the register are Catholic priests.