The Garda Commissioner has said they will deal with the Disclosure Tribunal while keeping their foot on the pedal to protect communities and said that is where their focus would remain.

Nóirín O'Sullivan was speaking for the first time since the chairperson of the Policing Authority said she has "a degree of confidence" but is concerned about the ability of the commissioner to carry out her role while the tribunal is under way.

The tribunal set up to investigate an alleged smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe held its first public sitting at Dublin Castle this week.

Today, Commissioner O'Sullivan said that An Garda Síochána has been operating at a very limited capacity since 2014 at senior leadership level.

But she said they have more of their senior team in place since then, which would help with capacity.

She separately said they would deal with the tribunal and they have a team to co-ordinate that.

The commissioner said they would keep their foot on the pedal to protect communities, saying that is where their focus would remain.

Asked about confidence in her in a personal capacity, Commissioner O'Sullivan said in the last three years she as an individual, interim commissioner and Garda Commissioner has had to operate on a very limited capacity. 

So, she said, she was no stranger to having to do that.

When asked if she was disappointed that Policing Authority Chairperson Josephine Feehily had not expressed full confidence in her ability to do both roles, Commissioner O'Sullivan said they had discussed it in detail with the authority. At no stage, she said, did they express anything other than confidence in her capacity to do the job.

The Garda Commissioner was speaking at the launch of the Child Sexual Abuse reporting line.

The dedicated freephone line, 1800 555 222, will be manned on a 24-hour basis seven days a week 365 days a year.