The Government will give “serious consideration” to any invitation to next month's church service commemorating Northern Ireland’s centenary.
The President has declined an invitation to attend the event, noting that it had become politicised and would commemorate the partition of Ireland.
He said it would be inappropriate for him as the head of State to attend an event that commemorates partition.
He also took issue with the fact that his invitation referred to him as the ‘President of the Republic of Ireland’ rather than the President of Ireland.
Speaking this afternoon, the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the President’s team did consult with his office prior to making the decision but noted that the Department did not offer him “any clear advice” on what to do.
“I think it is quite clear from the statements the president has made in relation to it that he made his own decision,” he said.
“The Irish Government hasn’t received an invitation to the event that you refer to but if we do receive an invitation, of course we will give it serious consideration.”
He noted that President Higgins has always been a politician who makes his own decisions.
“He listens to all perspectives and then makes a judgement for himself,” he said.
“He's made his decision on this; he's given an explanation as to the basis of that decision and I think we need to respect that.”
The President’s decision has divided opinion on both sides of the border.
The Democratic Unionist Party has criticised the decision, while church leaders organising the event have insisted it was never meant to political.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Labour Party have all come out in support of President Higgins’ stance.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said President Higgins was 'correct' not to attend an event marking the ‘catastrophic’ partition of Ireland.
On The Hard Shoulder meanwhile, DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the decision was a snub to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
On the same show Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín noted that there isn’t a president in the world that would attend an event celebrating the partition of his own country.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning meanwhile, Former Taoiseach John Bruton criticised the President’s decision and urged him to change his mind.
For his part, President Higgins said there was no question of snubbing anyone and noted that it is a “bit much” for the DUP to accuse him of doing so.
He said he wished the organisers of the service well but warned that he will not be changing his decision.