The Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has said he believes there will be a united Ireland in his lifetime.
However, he added that now was not the time for a public vote on the issue.
He said he believed such a vote would not be carried, and that it could be divisive if done at the wrong time.
"I do believe that in my lifetime we will have a united Ireland…Fine Gael is a united Ireland party; we've always believed in a united Ireland," he said.
"I also think there will always have to be special arrangements within that context for Northern Ireland, or at least for part of Northern Ireland because of the need to respect the Ulster Unionist and Protestant community that exists there."