Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has voted in favour of an EU plan which will allow individual member states to prohibit growing of Genetically Modified Organisms on their territory.
The compromise agreed today in Luxembourg by EU environment ministers will also mean that member states in favour of GMOs can proceed with planting under specified conditions.
Minister Hogan is said to have supported the plan because it gives member states greater powers in terms of GMO cultivation within their territories.
In a previous row, Spain had been objecting to a plan that would have seen GMOs grown against the government's own wishes.
Currently, there is no cultivation of GMOs in Ireland.
The legislation will next be considered by the European Parliament.
Environmentalist organisations have expressed concern that the changes will end up significantly increasing the amount of GMO crops being grown in Europe and give too much power to GMO companies.