The Minister for the Marine, Noel Dempsey, has proposed mediation in the Corrib Gas pipeline dispute.
Five men from Rossport, Co Mayo have been in prison for 93 days for contempt of court arising from their opposition to the pipeline.
In a statement, Mr Dempsey said he had been in contact with both sides and that the Government is prepared to appoint a mediator if those involved are willing to take part.
Shell Ireland has said it will consider the statement with a view to enabling a mediation process to proceed.
A spokesperson for the five men, Mark Garvan, said mediation will only take place if the men are freed.