Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said there has been no indication of surveillance or eavesdropping on the calls of Irish political leaders.

He was speaking in the aftermath of revelations of US phone tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, amongst other world leaders.

Asked if he had sought information from the US’ government on possible surveillance of Irish leaders’ phones, Mr Kenny said that all the information presented so far suggested there was no listening post based in Ireland.

He added that there has to be a boundary definition of the difference between information gathered to prevent terrorism, as has happened here over the years, and the invasion of privacy of conversations by citizens or by people who happen to be leaders.

Vatican denial

Meanwhile, the National Security Agency, the organisation responsible for US electronic eavesdropping, has said that it does not target the Vatican, and called an Italian media report that it had done so "not true".

"The NSA does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true," agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement.

Panorama magazine said on Wednesday that the NSA had eavesdropped on Vatican phone calls, possibly including when former Pope Benedict's successor was under discussion.

The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any such activity.