Twenty-six people employed by the Department of Justice and its organisations are currently suspended on full pay, TD Richard Boyd Barrett has been told in reply to a parliamentary question.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, the AAA/PBP TD said that the situation is completely at odds with the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s view on the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

Tánaiste Ms Fitzgerald has consistently said Commissioner O’Sullivan should not stand aside from her role when the Charleton Tribunal of Inquiry is investigating allegations of a smear campaign against garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mr Boyd Barrett believes the figures make it clear that it is normal practice for staff at the Department of Justice and its organisations to stand aside when they are under investigation.

However, speaking on the same programme, Minister for Education Richard Bruton repeated the government view that the Garda Commissioner should remain in her job while the tribunal carries out its work.

Mr Bruton said Commissioner O'Sullivan has not been found guilty of anything.