Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin has confirmed that the Government jet will be replaced.

Mr Martin told the Dáil that the Learjet 45, purchased in 2004, is "approaching its natural end of life" and he had approved the recommendation made by his officials to purchase a new one.

"Ultimately, the State needs a replacement aircraft that provides a broad utility role, including strategic reach in crisis situations and medical evacuation, as well as ministerial air transport."

Mr Martin added that future governments would benefit from the replacement jet rather than the current one because of the length of time of the procurement process.

The Learjet has failed on a number of occasions leaving ministers stranded.

Mr Martin was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe, who said it was important not just for Government purposes, but also for humanitarian missions and medical evacuations.

"We cannot expect members of the Government to be going around in rickshaws and we cannot just magic children who are overseas or Irish people who need to be repatriated home.

"We need a way of getting them home safely and I think this is a sensible decision," he said.

The Tánaiste said that when the Government was evacuating Irish citizens quickly from Afghanistan it had to depend on other governments.