An expert group examining issues within the Department of Justice has recommended splitting it into two divisions, saying "it is as if the system has naturally evolved to ensure that the buck stops nowhere".

The Effectiveness and Renewal Group was established to provide a blueprint for restructuring the Department in the wake of several controversies and resignations, including that of former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

The group's report said the current structure within the Department of Justice can lead to "Ministers, Secretaries General, and Garda Commissioners having to resign, step-aside or retire, even for issues not of their own making, simply because accountability cannot be found elsewhere".

It says "it is as if the system has naturally evolved to ensure that the buck stops nowhere".

"This environment has, over many years, led to a situation in which actual and perceived problems in policing and its governance not only have been happening at an increasing pace but, very importantly, the contagion of those problems on the stability of the system has amplified materially." 

As a result of the report's recommendations, the Minister for Justice has announced plans to restructure the Department of Justice. 

Minister Charlie Flanagan has appointed a new Secretary General to the Department to oversee the changes. 

Aidan O'Driscoll, a career civil servant who has worked as Secretary General in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine since 2015 will lead the transformation process.

Two new divisions will be created within the Department, one of Justice and Equality and a division of Home Affairs. Two Deputy Secretaries General will head up each division.

Mr Flanagan said the department has "faced many difficult challenges in recent times" and its traditional structure "is not equipping it to effectively meet the vast range of demands it faces today." 

A nine-month time frame has been set out to implement the reforms which include creating two divisions within the Department; each division will then be subdivided to deal with the areas of Policy, Governance, Legislation, Transparency, and Operations.