The Department of Justice has confirmed that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan initially sought seven weeks leave this summer.

This follows the publication today of a written reply to a Dáil question asked by Labour's Alan Kelly.

In the response, Minister for Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said his department does not authorise the leave arrangements for any member of the Garda.

But in the case of a "planned absence" the Garda Commissioner has to notify the department of the dates and the name of a Deputy Commissioner who will be available to carry out her functions.

These dates ran from 17 July to 4 September, which is seven weeks in total, according to the Dáil reply.

Up until now it had been thought that the commissioner's leave was for a period of five weeks.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said that while the leave dates were originally requested to begin last week, the commissioner worked that week and attended public events.

This means that the total leave period now runs to six weeks.

Mr Kelly accused the Department of Justice of trying to avoid giving accurate information.

He said questions about when the Garda Commissioner applied for the leave and in what format, written or oral, still have not been answered.