The officer in charge of the Garda College has said she would like to think that there was no "blue wall" in the gardaí and that Templemore would produce good officers to police modern Ireland.

A "blue wall" is an unofficial code of silence where police officers protect each other from accountability and do not report a colleague's wrongdoing.

Chief Superintendent Anne-Marie McMahon was speaking at the introduction of a new training programme for garda recruits who are due to begin training in the next two weeks. 

Her comments come in the wake of severe criticism of the culture of the force and the way it has trained new members.

Chief Supt McMahon said the new programme would foster critical thinking and encourage gardaí to be more reflective, analytical and accountable.

Up to 300 recruits have been promised, but the Government has only sanctioned the recruitment of 100 new gardaí, the first in over five years.

The college has been criticised for the way students are turned into members of the force, which Judge Peter Smithwick found had a culture that puts loyalty over honesty.

The director of the college said the new course originated six years ago following a review of training in 2008, long before recent garda controversies.