Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has confirmed to the Dáil that a garda file on an alleged criminal gang, which was being prepared for presentation to the Director of Public Prosecutions, was brought to a photocopying shop for printing.

Dermot Ahern said the file was left unattended for a period of time, during which time a member of staff at the shop communicated with a third party without the consent of An Garda Síochána.

Fine Gael's Alan Shatter told the House that it was his understanding that the shop in question was Reads Print and Design on Nassau Street in Dublin.

Deputy Shatter said it was an extraordinary example of complete incompetence.

He pointed out that as the file related to organised crime and was for the DPP, confidentiality was of paramount importance.

Minister Ahern said Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has directed that in future no files can be photocopied outside garda premises.