PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins made a late night dash from Rome back to Dublin on the state jet.
Mr Higgins hurried from his hotel late yesterday for the 20-minute journey to Fiumicino Airport.
The jet had been on standby to make the two-hour journey to Dublin.
A spokesman said: "The President is departing Rome for Dublin to make himself available in the possibility of there being legislation to consider.
"The President intends to return to Italy tomorrow (Thursday) and looks forward to his meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano and to his meeting with Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation."
Mr Higgins is on a three-day visit to Rome on foot of an invite from Mr Napolitano.