The Cabinet has met ahead of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Government ministers leaving for trips around the world to mark St Patrick's Day.

Mr Varadkar will meet US President Donald Trump on Thursday in Washington,

Ministers will visit all of the the EU's capital cities, however, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is to cut short his planned trip to Paris and Brussels due to uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Mr Coveney said today's Cabinet meeting had a focus on Brexit and the "messages we want Ministers to bring with them for St Patrick's day".

However, he stressed that the Irish Government needed to be respectful of the UK's decision to leave the EU. 

He added St Patrick's Day trips by Ministers would be different this year and some trips would be shorter due to the Brexit negotiations. 

The departure overseas of many members of the Government follows on from the visit to Dublin of the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the weekend.

The Taoiseach hosted a dinner for Mr Barnier and his sons on Saturday night.

Mr Coveney and the European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee, along with their partners, also attended.

Ideas and options around resolving the Brexit impasse were discussed during the meal, it is understood.

However, no decisions or conclusions were reached.