Minister of State Dara Murphy has said that he believes it is protocol that if ministers need assistance and have no alternative, gardaí should be called for help.

Mr Murphy has been criticised after he was driven to Dublin Airport by gardaí after his car broke down near Mitchelstown, Co Cork in the early hours of 13 September.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Mr Murphy said he was certain that he made reasonable attempts to get a taxi and look for a later flight.

The Fine Gael junior minister said he apologised if anyone thought that Garda resources were not properly used.

He also said he had agreed that the journey for his flight to Brussels would be suspended if gardaí were required to respond to a more serious emergency.

Mr Murphy was travelling to Dublin Airport to get flight ahead of an EU meeting on the crisis in Syria.

A spokesperson for the Government told RTÉ News that a decision was taken by Cabinet early in the lifetime of this Government that ministers could call on gardaí in unforseen circumstances.  

He said the decision was taken in the context of getting rid of ministerial cars.  

The spokesperson said that the protocol was for Cabinet ministers only but on this occasion Minister Murphy was representing the Government.

Earlier, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the use of a garda car to transport Mr Murphy from Cork to Dublin Airport was not an appropriate use of resources. 

He said this was particularly the case given the recent strain on garda services and the minister needs to give a full account of what happened and explain the sequence of meetings that he was due to attend. 

Mr Martin agreed the Taoiseach should talk to all of his ministers about this type of use of public resources.

He said Enda Kenny has lectured others about this for a long time.

Garda Representative Association Director of Communications Neil Ward has said the GRA has no comment to make on the incident as it is an operational matter.