Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said he would be willing to go before an Oireachtas committee to answer questions about a gathering in his department in June 2020.

Last month, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said "lessons have been learned" following the apparent breach of Covid-19 regulations on 17 June 2020.

An image which was shared on social media at the time shows a number of officials from the Department's UN Security Council campaign team gathered together posing for a photograph indoors.

The gathering took place on the evening that Ireland secured a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Ireland was in Phase two of its reopening plan at that stage, and Covid-19 regulations stipulated that people could only meet up to six others from outside their household in both indoor and outdoor settings.

At this stage, people were also advised to work from home where possible, while travel was also restricted to inside a person's county of residence, or 20km, whichever was greater.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Mr Coveney said he learned of the gathering "later on that evening" in June 2020, but did not launch an investigation into the matter.

"No, I didn't. I mean, you know, I clearly didn't think that was a good idea, because this was something that had happened," he said.

"It was quite public because it was put up on social media. It was taken down and there was an acknowledgement of wrongdoing if you like.

"I trusted my Secretary General and I felt that, you know, clearly what happened shouldn't have happened, but I didn't feel that there was a need for follow-up after."

The Minister said that he would be willing to go before the Oireachtas Committee for Foreign Affairs if they wished to ask questions on the matter.

He added that he was not present in the Department at the time of the gathering.

"This was the 17 June 2020 and it was an evening when I, with the Taoiseach, was watching in the Department of the Taoiseach the vote in the UN that resulted in us gaining a seat on the Security Council after three or four years of campaigning to be there," Mr Coveney said.

"Unfortunately, in my Department, there were 20 or so officials who have been very much involved in that successful campaign and when the vote came true, they celebrated in a way that they shouldn't have. They let their guard down.

"I have to say they're all mortified by what happened now and that shouldn't have happened and the Department has apologised for it."

He said that he was back in the Department later that night and called in to the UN section where "people were at work".

"When I arrived, there certainly wasn't a party going on, that's for sure," he said.

He said that the group involved are "all mortified by what happened now."

Mr Coveney said: "I was told by my team that there had been a photograph that was put up on Twitter by the Secretary General. That clearly was not a good idea, but it had happened."

When asked what he was told about the gathering at the time, he said: "I was told, I think later on that evening.

"To be honest with you, that wasn't my focus that evening at all. I didn't know that there was, you know, an inappropriate gathering, albeit temporarily, after the vote at all.

"I didn't know that that had happened. I was told later on that a photograph was tweeted out and it was later on, I think late that evening after midnight it was taken down and my Secretary General at the time acknowledged that it shouldn't have happened and it was a momentary I think, drop of our guard, I think was what he said."