Independent Alliance ministers Shane Ross and Finian McGrath raised Ireland's voting record on Saudi Arabia's membership of the UN Commission on the Status of Women at Cabinet this morning.

Mr McGrath said the Irish people wanted to know how Ireland had voted and they had concerns about human rights and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

He also pointed to the section in the Programme for Government on women's rights.

It is understood the rest of the Government backed Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan’s position that how Ireland voted in the secret ballot should not be revealed as it was a policy for the past six decades.

Mr Flanagan has said revealing the secret vote would be "very damaging to Ireland's capacity to conduct international negotiations successfully".

It is understood Mr Flanagan will not be revealing how Ireland voted, but it was agreed that there needed to be closer liaison between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Independent Alliance in the future.

Last Friday Mr Ross said the public should know if Ireland supported the Saudis, in the interests of transparency and openness.

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly also described the Government’s position as "wholly unacceptable".

She claimed that Irish people were "absolutely outraged" that a state which was "infamous for the subjugation of women" could have been elected onto such a body with the Government's assistance.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Independent Alliance were "quite happy" to request information on the vote at Cabinet.

Mr Kenny was responding to a question from the Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on the issue.

Mr Ó Caoláin asked whether Ireland had voted yes or no.

Mr Kenny said it had been made clear that secret ballots had not been divulged since they began in 1947. 

He said the votes occur every year and and it is the first time Saudi Arabia has been put on the committee.

"Obviously Saudi Arabia will have to hear some home truths and will have to play their part", he said. 

The Taoiseach added that he supported Mr Flanagan and dismissed a row at Cabinet on the matter.