A referendum on the place of women in the home will not take place in October, following a decision made by an Oireachtas committee.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee has agreed to proceed with pre-legislative scrutiny on the proposals to hold the referendum on deleting Article 41.2 from the Constitution.

This means there will not be sufficient time to pass the necessary legislation to allow a referendum to take place next month.

Committee members met behind closed doors in private session this morning to decide whether or not the committee should engage in more detailed discussion on the proposal.

A referendum on the issue had been pencilled in for the same date as the Presidential Election on 26 October.

One committee member told RTÉ News that given that interest groups such as the National Women's Council of Ireland have called for further discussion on the issue, that pre-legislative scrutiny will now begin at the committee on 19 September.

Committee members support amending the Constitution by deleting the reference to women in the home but they want to look into what, if anything, should replace it.

It is now expected that the committee will proceed with its work with a view to holding the referendum at the next available opportunity, which could be the same day as the local and European elections next May.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he regretted the decision and said he believes Article 41.2 is "not just sexist and reductive, but completely at odds with the Government's gender equality policies".

He said that he was disappointed the referendum would not go ahead on 26 October but looked forward "to receiving the Committee's recommendations in due course".

Earlier today, the Director of the NWCI said the removal of Article 41.2 of the Constitution should not be done in a rushed manner and time was needed for wider public discussion about what should replace it.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Orla O'Connor said provision needed to be made within the Constitution that recognised the value of care in the home.

Ms O'Connor described the current language as sexist and discriminatory and said it should be removed but that public discussion needed to take place around issues relating to those who care for people in the home and those being cared for.

She said policy in relation to care also needed to be looked at and that this needed to happen before a referendum.