Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that the vast majority of politicians are "honest, hard-working people".
His comments come after the Mahon tribunal final report yesterday said that corruption in Irish political life was both endemic and systemic.
Speaking to WLRfm, Minister Noonan said the actions of a few should not tarnish the reputations of many.
"The vast majority of people that I have met during my life in politics, whether national or local, are honest, hard-working people," he said.
"It's a pity if the profession gets tarred because of the misdemeanours of a small minority, who happened to get to a point where they had a controlling interest in the main party, which was the government party."