Minister for Defence Alan Shatter has said a serious examination is taking place into the possible pardoning of Irish soldiers who deserted from the Defence Forces to fight for the Allies in World War II.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister Shatter said these soldiers had fought against fascism and contributed to the future of freedom and democracy in Europe.

He said they were penalised by a regulation barring them from being employed in any public service job.

He welcomed the passing of a motion in the Stormont Assembly earlier this week calling for a pardon for the soldiers.

Minister Shatter said he believes that it is right that the Republic of Ireland now revisit how this issue was dealt with historically.

He said there were legal matters that required consideration but he has received legal advice from the Attorney General and will discuss the issue with his Cabinet colleagues.

He expects to make an announcement later this year.