Simon Coveney has said Ireland would likely be doubling its contribution to Ukraine as part of the European Peace Facility – a fund set up to send military aid to the war-torn country.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking from a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, said he expected EU member states to reach an agreement in the coming days on a doubling of that fund from half a billion euro to one billion euro, bringing the Republic of Ireland’s total contribution to 22 million euro.
The country, while militarily neutral, has committed itself to providing non-lethal aid to Ukrainian forces battling the Russian invasion.
The minister said he believed there was an “appetite for increased sanctions” in the EU, but acknowledged that difficult discussions remained about possible sanctions on Russian oil and gas imports.
“I certainly accept that money coming from the EU, in the energy sector, is funding Russia right now. You don’t need to convince me that we need to add significantly to the four packages of sanctions already agreed,” he said.
Mr Coveney told RTÉ radio that some options currently being discussed “impact significantly on EU member states and so we have to be sure we can keep unity in this discussion”.
The European Council is set for a further crunch meeting at the end of the week but it remains unclear if Micheál Martin will make it.
The Taoiseach remains in isolation in Washington after testing positive for Covid during his trip to the US capital to mark St Patrick’s Day.
“We will have to wait and see whether he is able to attend the European Council in person or not,” Mr Coveney said.
Earlier, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “He’ll only attend if his health allows it and if the rules governing attendance at that meeting, from a health point of view, allow him to be there.
"So I hope it will happen.”