Irish leader Leo Varadkar has said women should be allowed to become priests.

He also said priests should be allowed to marry but added that he “strongly believes” in the separation of state and church.

Read More: Liam Neeson wants to know why we can't have women priests

The Taoiseach made the comments after a quarrel between the Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan and the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that early last week Madigan had stepped in to lead prayers at a Dublin church after a priest failed to show up.

Archbishop Martin accused Madigan on Wednesday of “pushing an agenda” after she said the Church should ordain women.

Weighing in on the argument, Varadkar said the Culture Minister “did a very nice thing.”

A church altar. Credit: Flickr

A church altar. Credit: Flickr

“I’ve a very interesting and diverse cabinet,” he said.

“According to the papers, Minister (Katherine) Zappone has practiced witchcraft in the past and now Minister Madigan is saying mass. I’m not sure either of those things are quite true.

“From what I understand, the priest wasn’t able to attend for various reasons and a number of people from the congregation, including Jospeha led prayers, but certainly did not say mass.

“I think what she did was a very nice thing and I understand she received a round of applause.

Read More: Why are Irish priests the best singers too?

“As regards for female priests, I believe in equality in all things and equality in the workplace and that would include allowing priests to marry and allowing women to become priests.

“But I also strongly believe in the separation in the church and the state so that is not something the Government is going to be legislating on.”