Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said he found it odd that a novel he wrote in 1989 has become the subject of a complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board.

'Laura: A Story You Will Never Forget' sold an estimated 20,000 copies when it was first published, but has since gone out of print.

It is due to be re-published later this month following considerable public interest, Mr Shatter said.

Mr Shatter said he proposed the transfer of responsibility for the appointment of board members of the Censorship of Publications Board from his department to the Department of Arts to avoid any question mark hanging over its independence.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Shatter said he had not asked the board to supply him with details of the complaint and the board had not contacted him.

A Government spokesperson said the move was being made because it was more logical to have the Department of Arts in charge and to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

At least one member of the public is understood to have lodged a complaint with the board about it.