AGRICULTURE Minister Simon Coveney has pointed the finger of blame for the horse meat scandal at suppliers outside of Ireland.
But Mr Coveney said he is not in a position yet to "name names", adding: "I think we have our suspicions but we need proof."
"We will get to the bottom of that," Mr Coveney told RTE's 'Morning Ireland'. "As soon as I get full information and proof, I will be totally transparent."
He said his understanding is horse DNA was found only in "filler material for burgers", and said he is "absolutely sure" Irish horses are not being used in food.
"If there is evidence to back that up, please give it to me," he said, adding that the scandal is a huge issue in Ireland and the UK, but not mainland Europe, where eating horse meat is normal.
"It is not the norm in Ireland or the UK and it shouldn't be because consumers do not want that. I think we have been damaged, but mainly in Ireland and the UK. This is a step backward."