The Taoiseach has said that the world is facing a watershed moment and it is important that Ireland participates in international conversations.

Micheál Martin was speaking in Madrid where he is attending the EuroAtlantic dinner tonight which will be attended by the leaders of EU and NATO countries.

He said that Ireland was not neutral when it comes to upholding democracy, a rules-based international order and a free media.

However, on the question of changing neutrality generally he said that was something people would ultimately have to have a say in.

He said a Citizens' Assembly could allow for an informed discussion on the issue.

Close engagement in areas like cybersecurity was already taking place, he said.

"We know from the attack on the HSE last year that we can't be neutral on that either and we have to work with like minded states," he said.

The Taoiseach said the world is changing dramatically and Ireland's engagement in discussions on security and defence is evolving.

Ireland must also increase its own defence spending in the next number of years, he said.

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At the Euro-Atlantic dinner being hosted by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, the main theme is cooperation in the context of Russia's war on Ukraine.

The leaders of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea are also in Madrid to attend a formal session of the NATO summit.

The Irish Government position is that it backs continuing cooperation, as a militarily neutral country, particularly where it benefits international peace and security.

While in Madrid, Mr Martin will have a number of bilateral meetings with other European leaders.

The Taoiseach will first attend a reception at the official residence of Ireland's Ambassador to Spain, Frank Smyth, to meet key the Irish business community, and agencies including Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, and Tourism Ireland, in Madrid, and Spanish businesses.

He will also briefly visit the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

A bilateral is scheduled with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and other meetings at the EuroAtlantic dinner have been arranged with Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Ireland and Austria share common positions as militarily neutral EU Members.