The Labour Party's Joan Burton and former Green Party senator Déirdre de Búrca have become Facebook friends with a fake Micheál Martin who openly supports the legalisation of cannabis.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is "looking at its options" in instigating the removal of the convincing but fake Facebook profile.

"We are aware of the Facebook page. We are looking at our options. It only has a fraction of the followers that the legitimate Micheál Martin Facebook page has. He has over 1,000 online 'friends' on the legitimate page," said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

On the social networking site Facebook, several fake pages have been posted purporting to be those of TDs and ministers, including Enda Kenny, Dan Boyle, Mary Harney and Bertie Ahern. However, most of these fake profiles are quite obviously fraudulent with satirical pictures of the various politicians posted online. In comparison, the fake profile of Micheál Martin is quite convincing and the photo of the minister used to attract users to the page is a genuine picture.

On the fake page, the minister has 105 online friends and the person purporting to be Martin has joined several online groups. These include the "Legalise Cannabis Ireland: Cork March 2010" and the "Vincent Browne Appreciation Society". On the fake online profile, his name has been spelt "Michael Martin" rather than "Micheál Martin".

Legalise Cannabis Ireland (LCI) campaigns for the legalisation of cannabis. On 8 May, the group is staging a demonstration in Peace Park in Cork, which the "fake" Micheál Martin has indicated he will attend.