The Department of Foreign Affairs says “lessons have been learned” after an image emerged of staff drinking champagne during lockdown last year.
At least 20 senior officials and staff are in the photo huddled together in an office at the department’s headquarters at Iveagh House.
They can be seen drinking champagne without wearing masks or social distancing.
The picture was taken in June of 2020 – when strict lockdown rules meant people were not permitted to leave their own county and indoor gatherings of more than seven people were banned.
People were being advised to work from home where possible and Government Return to Work guidelines encouraged people to maintain physical distancing and avoid face-to-face contact.
In a statement, the department said staff briefly “let their guard down” after Ireland won a seat on the UN Security Council.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs Security Council campaign team was working in a large open plan area of Iveagh House throughout the day of June 17th, 2020,” said a spokesperson.
“Had Ireland not won the Council seat on the first round of voting, the team would have had to work through the night to campaign for a second vote the next day.
“As it happened, we won in the first round and, in a moment of happiness, as the result came in, we briefly let our guard down by celebrating together.
“It was 18 months ago and steps have been taken to ensure lessons have been learned.”
The photograph of the gathering was tweeted by then-Department Secretary General Niall Burgess on June 17th but was then quickly deleted.