Micheál Martin has said a commitment to holding a marriage equality referendum could be one way of breaking the political impasse in Northern Ireland.
The Fianna Fáil leader was speaking at his party's annual Easter Rising Commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin today.
During his speech at the event, he addressed the ongoing political stalemate in the North.
The North has been without an Executive since the previous one collapsed in 2017 amid a scandal over a botched renewable heating scheme.
The major parties in the North have come under fresh pressure to restore the institutions in the wake of the killing of journalist Lyra McKee.
On Friday, the British and Irish governments have announced plans for a fresh round of talks.
One of the major sticking points in the negotiations has been the issue of same-sex marriage.
Sinn Féin supports marriage equality, while the DUP says it's working "to defend the current definition of marriage".
Today, Deputy Martin backed the SDLP call for the suspension of the 'petition of concern'.
The petition of concern means that any vote taken by the Stormont Assembly can be made dependent on cross-community support if a petition of concern is presented to the Assembly speaker.
In such cases, a vote on proposed legislation will only pass if supported by a weighted majority of members voting - including at least 40% of each of the nationalist and unionist designations.
The mechanism was designed as a way to safeguard minority rights in the Assembly.
'Break the logjam'
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on those behind the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry. He’s speaking at the party’s Easter Rising commemoration in Dublin this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/uAKzfQVa0y
— Adrian Harmon (@Adrian_H21) April 28, 2019
In his speech today, Micheál Martin said use of the petition of concern to block marriage equality and other rights issues is an "unquestionable abuse" of the mechanism.
Speaking to reporters after his address, he suggested: "We agree with the SDLP proposition about the suspension of the petition of concern as a basis for the immediate restoration of the Assembly and Executive.
"An alternative idea would be - if this would break the logjam - would be an immediate commitment to a referendum on marriage equality, which might be a way to deal with that specific issue. I think that is one option that could be used to move forward.
"In my view, the institutions... should never have been collapsed over the heating scandal."
In his speech, he argued that Sinn Féin and the DUP have "deep problems with how they deal with each other as well as other parties".
Deputy Martin claimed: "Whatever is done it requires the parties to move beyond their short-term interests and return to the spirit which was so triumphantly demonstrated through the leadership of Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, John Hume and David Trimble when they led the largest parties on these islands."