Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said the force has seen a recent rise in right-wing extremism in society.

Mr Harris told the Policing Authority that hate crime is a growing problem and An Garda Síochána is implementing a plan to investigate it and standardise the approach to it across the organisation.

He said Ireland is not immune to the rise in right-wing extremism and the new plan to investigate hate crime is "a plank in our response".

He said the force wants to develop a system of online reporting and the reaction from minority communities most affected by the crime has been very positive.

The authority was also told that 3,000 gardaí need to be trained to drive a patrol car with blue lights and sirens in emergency situations.

The Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for Roads Policing, Dave Sheahan, said that 342 of those need to be urgently trained to the basic level of competency based driver (CBD) 1, while another 481 require the next level of CBD 2 training.

Mr Sheahan admitted that the force does not know how many of its members have been trained to drive patrol cars because there is no system to record this.

However, he assured the Policing Authority that all members of the Armed Support Units and Emergency Response Units are trained to CBD level 3 and beyond, and that all Roads Policing members are trained to level 2.

He said the force can train around 400 gardaí to drive a patrol car every year and next year hopes to be able to train 1,500 a year.

Authority chair Josephine Feehily said a "serious organisational risk" was identified four years ago and asked how other emergency services are able to train their members to drive.

Commissioner Harris said the risk is being "well regulated" but the current paper system is inefficient and the force is working to move from it.

Mr Harris also told the authority that a new uniform had been selected but will not be rolled out until January 2021.

He said the €8m cost is not in the force's estimates for next year. The Commissioner said that An Garda Síochána is looking at tender options.

He also said the force is looking at a number of options to control its overtime spend, including reducing non-public duty, such as attendances at concerts and sporting events, to see if savings could be made in this area.

Mr Harris said he wants to regulate attendance at court by gardaí as members are attending in relation to summary matters.

He also said the force was seeking more dogs, including for drug detection.

Failure to prosecute over 3,000 juvenile offenders

Meanwhile, 699 gardaí have been disciplined for their roles in the failure to prosecute more than 3,000 juvenile offenders.

An internal report into the juvenile referral scheme found 7,894 cases where youths were deemed not be suitable for the juvenile diversion programme but were not properly dealt with.

The Policing Authority was told that more than 3,500 gardaí were investigated and that 77% of them were exonerated.

Asst Commissioner Sheahan said the review was not yet complete and the role of 740 other gardaí was still being assessed.

All 699 gardaí who have been disciplined to date were sanctioned at a less serious level and were either advised, warned, fined or had a reduction in pay.

The Garda Commissioner also defended his decision to apologise to the juvenile offenders who should have been prosecuted but were not because of the garda failures

Mr Harris said the gardaí missed out on an opportunity for intervention into chaotic and vulnerable lives and there was something for the gardaí to say sorry about.