Top-level talks are taking place about bringing the Olympic torch to the Republic as part of the celebrations ahead of the Games in Britain next year.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he spoke with British Home Secretary Theresa May about the possibility on the fringe of a recent meeting in Luxembourg.
"At this moment I'll simply say it's a realistic possibility and a matter that is under discussion," he said.
It is understood the plans are to bring the iconic torch south of the border during its tour of Northern Ireland ahead of the 2012 Games.
Discussions involve both the British and Irish governments as well as the British Olympic Association and sporting authorities in Ireland.
"It would be a major event in Ireland to have the Olympic torch in our country as a prelude to the Olympic Games taking place on a neighbouring island," said Mr Shatter.
"It would be yet again another sign of the extent to which we could work together, not only on issues of security, but on an occasion of sporting celebration and importance."
Mr Shatter said Irish people wanted to take part in the celebrations and the event.