The argument for not ordaining women doesn't hold up any more, according to prominent Catholic priest Fr Brian D'Arcy.
It comes as the Association of Catholic Priests is expected to repeat its call for married men and women to be ordained and to relax celibacy rules at its AGM tomorrow.
The group is warning that the capacity to celebrate sacraments including baptism and marriage will disappear in some parishes due to the lack of priests.
Fr D'Arcy (pictured) says there is no argument for not ordaining women. He said: "The argument that they give now for not ordaining women is that Jesus never ordained women, but that's not an argument...He didn't ordain Irish people, black people, gay people - and they're all ordained now.
"So it's not an argument.
"We need to ordain married men and, if necessary, we need to ordain women."
Earlier, the Humanist Association of Ireland said more people are turning away from the Catholic Church to celebrate life milestones. Humanist celebrant, Emer Dillon, said there may not be such a high demand for priests in 10 or 20 years.
"If the figures are to continue as they have done in the last 10 or 12 years, that would indicate there would be a turning away from the traditional Catholic faith, and how people want to mark ritual and celebrate the milestones of life without religion," she said.