The Dáil has approved a plan to allow Ireland join an EU military initiative to defend critical seabed infrastructure against sabotage, terrorism and espionage.

The move got the green light from TDs following a vote with 74 deputies supporting the motion and 58 voting against it.

The Critical Seabed Infrastructure Protection project is part of the PESCO framework where EU member states cooperate to improve the capabilities of their armed forces.

Prior to the vote there had been some angry exchanges between the Tánaiste Micheál Martin and members of the opposition.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly accused the Government of trying to erode the country's neutrality "bit by bit."

The proposals before the house were also criticised by Sinn Féin and Solidarity-People Before Profit.