Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has come in for criticism after a photograph of the British and Irish government's negotiating teams at yesterday's talks in Belfast show an all-male Irish delegation.

The optics of having no women in the Government "team photograph" were labelled a "disgrace" in the Dáil this afternoon.

Labour TD Joan Burton put it to the Taoiseach that this is a historic time as we commemorate the centenary of women getting the vote and being elected to parliament.

However, she added: "I have to say there were lovely photographs of you and your British counterparts in all the papers today. There is a particularly divine one in the Irish Times of six men on the Republic of Ireland side, as though nothing has changed since the British left, and three women and two men on the UK side." 

"In the year's that's in it Taoiseach and given your media communications unit and the nearly €6m you are spending on it this year, could we kind of ensure gender sensitivity when it comes to delegations," she said.

"It is not beyond the wit of Ireland to have two or three women on that delegation and at that meeting."

Ms Burton asked for an explanation of why there were no women on the panel, adding that "it is a disgrace and is not acceptable anymore".

This evening a Government spokesman said: "The Taoiseach seeks to promote women wherever possible."

He also pointed out that the photograph "does not represent the entire Irish delegation, as there were a number of women in the Department of Foreign Affairs delegation".