Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced that she will finish up today for six months of maternity leave.

Minister McEntee said the Government is committed to act as quickly as possible if a referendum is required to enable politicians to take maternity leave.

She has had nothing but positive responses from the public and from colleagues since she announced she would become the first cabinet minister to do so while in office.

"It is really important that women see other women in roles and positions being able to take maternity leave, being able to return to their jobs and return to the positions they were working in before," she said.

The Minister said the arrangement she reached that will see Heather Humphreys take on responsibilities for the portfolio until she returns, is a "sticking plaster" solution and she hopes that in the future other TDs, Senators and Councilors will be able to avail of maternity leave in a way that does not currently exist.

She said the Citizens Assembly has been asked to make recommendations as to whether legislative or constitutional change might be needed.

It is hoped that recommendations will be made in June.

"There is clear commitment at every level of government to act on that as quickly as possible and to engage where necessary either with the Oireachtas or with members of the public if a constitutional referendum is required," she said.

In March, the Taoiseach said Minister McEntee will take paid maternity leave and would remain a member of the Government without portfolio.

Micheál Martin said she would be provided with the necessary administrative supports to carry out any limited duties that may arise.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys will be assigned responsibility for the Department of Justice until Ms McEntee returns, in addition to her current portfolio.