Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has said she was "disappointed" by comments made by the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin after she led prayers in her local church over the weekend.

Ms Madigan and two other women ended up leading a prayer service in Mount Merrion after the priest failed to turn up following what was described by the archbishop as a misunderstanding.

The minister told RTÉ Radio yesterday that she welcomed people to the church and explained the situation, but they did not read the gospel and there were no sacraments.

She also said that the Catholic Church should be ordaining women and allowing priests to marry.

In a statement this afternoon, Archbishop Martin hit back, saying her comments had caused distress to parishioners in Mount Merrion

He said: "There is no shortage of priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin for the celebration of Sunday Mass.

"Due to a misunderstanding, the priest assigned to Mass in the parish of Mount Merrion on Saturday evening, failed to turn up. It is in no way correct to say that the minister "said mass".

"It is regrettable that that Minister Madigan used this occasion to push a particular agenda. Her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre.

"Minister Madigan might consider listening to the voices of those people who disagree with her public comments, she might consider the hurt she has caused to parishioners who deem her actions deeply disrespectful."

However, the minister said this evening that it was not her fault that a priest was not available for mass on Saturday evening.

She said it would be wrong of her not to highlight the inequalities within the church.

Minister Madigan said she could not turn a blind eye to the inequalities and she disputed claims that she was trying to push a particular agenda.

She also said she never claimed to say mass, saying "that was a newspaper headline".