There are no plans by Government to hold a referendum for Ireland to join any EU defence force.
Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne was speaking after a survey found 59% of people here support increased European Union defence and security co-operation.
The findings come almost 50 years after the majority of Irish people voted to join the EU in 1972.
But Minister Byrne told Newstalk Breakfast any change in Ireland's position could only be done by the people.
"It's important to be clear that we can't join a European defence [force] without a referendum of the Irish people.
"And there's no Government proposal to do that, to have a referendum.
"But just to be sure: Government's cannot just simply decide to join that.
"We do join European missions in terms of peacekeeping, peacemaking, work on common policing, trying to share technologies as well - and that's very, very important."
He says other countries - such as Finland - have their own reasons for moving closer to organisations like NATO.
"There's no doubt there's a wider debate going on in Europe at the moment - we see Finland have plumped one particular way.
"But that's mainly because they have a massive border with Russia, and quite frankly they're afraid and they need to have protection.
"We don't feel that same fear that they feel, that's natural in terms of our geographical position.
"But I think it is incumbent on us all at least to understand the reasons why Finland and Sweden appear to be making these decisions."
Ukraine 'making huge strides'
On a Ukrainian bid to join the EU, Minister Byrne says Ireland is "very keen" to see an expansion of the bloc.
"They're already part of an arrangement with the European Union called the Eastern Partnership.
"They've already been making huge strides in the direction of our values - sure that's exactly what they want, and why they're fighting against Russia.
"So there's massive progress being made and really we need to encourage them on that progress, help them with that progress.
"We'll do that - the same applies to the likes of North Macedonia, Albania, even Serbia.
"We see different influences in Serbia as well - I think it's important to point them on a European path.
"It's better for them but it's also better for the rest of us as well".