The Government's special rapporteur on child protection has criticised the levels of child protection training provided to gardaí.

Dr Geoffrey Shannon said there needs to be a complete review carried out to deal with inadequacies in the training system.

Dr Shannon was speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality, which is discussing his audit on the use of garda powers to remove children from their families under Section 12 of the Child Care Act.

In the audit Dr Shannon discovered that 53% of gardaí had not received any training in child protection.

Dr Shannon told the Committee that there was little evidence of adequate training, and there was a deep seated culture of "on the job training" at the detriment of core training.

He said the documentation used to train gardaí in Templemore is not adequate to reflect the fact that we now have a referendum placing children at the centre of the constitution.

"We expect more and more from our guards, and we expect that they are properly trained, so a body of work needs to be undertaken.

"There needs to be a complete review of how that happens," he said.

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Dr Shannon also said that child protection agencies should be co-located so that agencies can more easily share information with each other.

"One of the key messages to emanate from all of the reports published, nearly 100 reports published over the last 20 years, is the lack of inter-agency cooperation," he said.

"I'm hoping this will be the last report where this will have to be highlighted."

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly said the lack of adequate training highlighted in Dr Shannon's audit reflects a deeper systemic problem with training in An Garda Síochána.

Dr Shannon told the Committee that his report outlines the damaging effect of drug and alcohol abuse on parents to properly look after their children.

"Anyone who reads this report will be struck by how prevalent alcohol features," he said.

"That is a call for action to Government, there is a delay in legislating in this area, and I wonder is that influenced by vested interests.

"It has absolutely devastating consequences for children, and we as a society need to tackle it," he added.