Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman has said a proposed referendum to replace the constitutional reference to women's duties in the home will not take place this year.

A November referendum had been promised by the Government earlier this year, following a recommendation from a Citizens' Assembly on gender equality.

But speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Minister O'Gorman said: "I think it is most likely that it will be early next year."

He said the Government is "close to the final wording" of the two proposed amendments - on gender equality and to ensure care is valued by the State.

When the texts are finalised, a four-month lead-in time is envisaged to allow for a public information campaign.

"Any attempt to amend the Constitution is significant and needs to be well thought out.

"Every word we put in the Constitution has very significant meaning and can be interpreted by the courts.

"That is why we are taking the time to make sure we get the wording right on both proposals to make sure the amendments we propose get the support of the people," Mr O'Gorman said.

Last year the Government said it would hold a referendum on Article 41.2 of the Constitution which refers to women's "life within the home".

In August, the Government had said it would not proceed with the Gender Equality Referendum this November until there was agreement on a "settled wording".

The referendum was due to take place at the end of November and a wording was due to be agreed by mid-May.

The Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality and a subsequent Oireachtas committee had recommended a three-pronged referendum: Remove gendered language referring to women in the home; ensure the role of care is supported; and create a more inclusive definition of family - moving away from the constitutional definition of the family based on marriage.