A spokesperson for the Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea has denied there is a risk between himself and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, lieutenant general Jim Sreenan.

The comments come after a report in The Irish Times that the minister has sent a strongly worded letter to the General last month reminding him that any public comment on national, international, or political issues was a breach of defence forces rules.

It said regulations prohibit the airing of individual or controversial views by members of the forces.

It is thought the minister's letter followed an interview given by the General to the Irish Times in which he discussed peacekeeping issues.

This morning the Minister's Spokesperson said there is no problem between Mr O'Dea and the Chief of Staff and the two have regular contact.

A spokesman for the defence forces also said both men speak regularly on a wide range of topics. He said the minister's letter had been circulated to senior officers to inform them of the ministers instructions.

General Sreenan, who is due to retire in June, and Minister O'Dea are expected to travel together to Lebanon this week to visit Irish troops on duty there.