The Dáil has passed a motion to set up a Citizen's Assembly to look at a number of issues, including a referendum on repealing the 8th amendment.
Whatever it recommends on the question of abortion will go to an Oireachtas Committee before a free vote in the Dáil.
Junior minister Damien English said that the 8th amendment will be the first issue to be examined.
"Given its importance, the resolution sets out that the first item the assembly will consider is the 8th amendment of the constitution," he said.
"When completed, the assembly's report on the 8th amendment will be sent to an Oireachtas Committee which will in turn bring its conclusions to the Houses for debate.
"It is intended that the Assembly will be established by October.
"The resolution gives it a 12-month deadline from establishment to complete all its work and submit its reports."
Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said that a referendum on our abortion laws is urgently required.
“Just last month, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found in the case of Amanda Mellet that she had been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” he said.
“So we are delighted that 275,000 people around the world have stood in solidarity with Amanda Mellet, with women and girls here in Ireland, and are calling on the Government for urgent progress now to reform our abortion laws and to properly provide for and respect the human rights of women and girls here in Ireland.”