The Taoiseach Micheál Martin says fishing in an area of Russian military drills off the Irish coast would not be "the safest thing to be doing".
He was speaking after fishing representatives met with the Russian Ambassador to Ireland on Thursday.
A 'buffer zone' is being considered to protect Irish trawlers from the exercises, which will involve naval artillery and missiles.
CEO of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association, Brendan Byrne, said he was happy with the talks.
"The frankness of the ambassador, and indeed I have to say, the empathy that he had for the Irish fishing industry, certainly overwhelmed me," he said on Thursday.
And Mr Byrne criticised the Irish Government for failing to act.
"When you compare that to the lack of engagement and the failure on the part of the Government to engage with us at all, severe questions have to be asked in the time ahead as to what the Government were doing in terms of the Irish fishing industry", he added.
Asked about fishermen planning to sail out to the area next week, Mr Martin says safety must come first.
"I think people have to first and foremost be conscious of safety.
"That's not exactly, in my view, the safest thing to be doing - to be fishing close to where military drilling is taking place.
"I think we will at some stage engage with the fishermen on this and take advice on that.
"But I think there needs to be balance here, and proportionality on how this is addressed, but safety always has to come first".
Asked generally about the Ukraine/Russia situation, he says he is hopeful as long as dialogue continues.
"We would hope that dialogue can triumph here, and as long as people are talking I would still have hope.
"In terms of the major players here, it's extremely important that we avoid conflict.
"Conflict leads to loss of life, unnecessary loss of life - the situation here doesn't merit any military conflict at all from my objective analysis of it.
"If conflict starts there will be economic repercussions and consequences which will damage the entire world - Europe and of course this country also.
"No one can escape the consequences of sanctions entirely, and that's an unfortunate reality".
US Congressman Brendan Boyle has branded the military exercises as designed to "push the envelope and test the West".
Congressman Boyle told Newstalk: "I remember my grandfather - who grew up in Easkey, Co Sligo - as a boy looking out for the German's, if they were coming during World War II.
"I thought those days were over - that anyone on the coast of Donegal or Kerry would now have to be watching for the Russians - it's completely shocking.
"It is again another way in which [Russian President] Vladimir Putin likes to push the envelope and test the West to see what our resolve will be like".
Additional reporting: Paul O'Donoghue