The Director of Public Prosecutions has said the new Court of Appeal due to sit for the first time this month, should bring greater consistency to sentencing.

DPP Claire Loftus said it was difficult to achieve consistency when a panel of judges sat on an ad hoc basis, as in the existing Court of Criminal Appeal.

Speaking at the annual National Prosecutors Conference in Dublin Castle, Ms Loftus said the new court's fixed panel of judges would lead to a consistent approach.

She said the approach  should reduce the number of undue leniency reviews or severity appeals.

However, Ms Loftus warned that the consequent increase in the number of cases being processed would inevitably put pressure on the budget of her office.

She said she had raised the matter with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Ms Loftus added that it remained to be seen how the new court would arrange its sittings and what the true impact would be in terms of staffing and resources.

The DPP also specifically addressed the reasons for deciding whether to prosecute rape allegations.

She said that it was important to emphasise that in cases where a prosecution is not brought, it was rarely that there was an issue about the credibility of the complainant.

Ms Loftus said that in the vast majority of cases, it was not because they did not believe their account, but that there was not enough evidence to justify charging a suspect and putting all parties through a trial where there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

An EU directive requiring prosecutors to explain more decisions not to prosecute is expected to be brought into Ireland soon.

Ms Loftus said she would be developing proposals to deal with this.

The DPP also stressed the accused right to a fair trial.

She warned media and others to exercise great caution in relation to pending trials and said this was particularly acute in relation to banking trials.