An emergency team is expected to travel to Libya to evacuate Irish citizens stranded in the troubled north African state.
The Air Corps is also due to be deployed for its second attempt to take passport holders from Tripoli to safety in Valetta, Malta.
The Government jet left Dublin en route to Rome to pick up the six member emergency civil assistance team to co-ordinate efforts on the ground.
It will be headed by Pat Hennessy, the Irish ambassador in Rome who is accredited to Libya. A total of 26 Irish were still in Tripoli on Thursday night waiting evacuation by air, with 12 in Benghazi where evacuations were by ships and ferries dependent on weather conditions.
Elsewhere six Irish workers are in the desert and are making their way to Tripoli, Benghazi, and the border with Egypt. Irish officials have defended their response efforts, stating the number of Irish wanting to leave jumped dramatically during the week - from 20 on Monday to 70 by Wednesday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it had been working closely with its EU counterparts to ensure Irish passport holders were given spaces on commercial flights out of the country.
David Cooney, secretary general, admitted not having an embassy and diplomats in Tripoli had hampered evacuation efforts. "We're trying to do something which I'm not aware any other state is trying to do, which is to extricate our citizens without having an embassy on the ground," he said.
Meanwhile the emergency team has travelled to Malta on the Government jet, the Gulfstream G4. The Air Corps Casa aircraft, which is routinely used for fisheries patrols and can carry 21 people, is also in Malta waiting pre-clearance for landing in Tripoli.
It flew to Tripoli on Wednesday night without clearance where officers spent four hours trying to get access to the terminal building to meet Irish citizens before it returned to Malta empty.
Mr Cooney blamed a lack of co-operation from the security services in Libya on the Casa not being able to pick up citizens.