Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has said too much time has been spent on the controversy over remarks made by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter about Independent TD Mick Wallace.

Mr Shatter had said that Mr Wallace had been warned by gardaí for using a mobile phone while driving, an incident that Mr Wallace later recalled.

In an interview on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Rabbitte was asked if he felt Mr Shatter had properly used information that he had received during a confidential garda briefing.

"No I don't think it was but the incident itself couldn't have been more trivial and the minister has apologised for his lapse."

He said: "I mean we're five years into the worst economic crisis that has ever afflicted this country since independence and we've spent ten days on an entirely superficial and trivial issue where even the newspapers today admit that they can't dig up anything else on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, who's a particularly effective, reforming and hard-working minister."