Questions have been raised in the Dáil over a change in the status of Ireland's naval operations in the Mediterranean. 

This morning Cabinet agreed that Ireland would join the UN-mandated, EU Naval group known as Operation Sophia, but this has to be ratified by the Dáil.

Labour Leader Brendan Howlin and the Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh expressed concern because the motion had not been circulated ahead of tomorrow's Dáil debate. 

Mr Ó Snodaigh said the debate, which is scheduled for 40 mins, had huge implications on Ireland - including changing its neutrality. He objected to it on the grounds of no pre-legislative scrutiny. 

The Taoiseach said the Government would produce the motion to TDs today, which he pointed out is short.

Leo Varadkar said people would have time to consider it and debate it tomorrow.

At present, Irish Navy operations in the Mediterranean are based on a bilateral arrangement with the Italian government.

Operation Sophia was established in 2015 and involves naval vessels from several EU members.

The primary objective of Operation Sophia is to target and stop gangs using vessels for human trafficking, mainly from Libya.

Over the last two years Irish naval personnel have saved almost 16,000 migrants in the southern Mediterranean operating on a humanitarian search and rescue basis.

Changing the status of current Irish Naval operations requires the Government to activate the so-called "triple lock".

This means any operation that would involve the Irish Defence Forces taking part in an international military operation must have UN sanction, the approval of the Cabinet and the approval of the Dáil.