The Garda Commissioner has said that he stands over the comments he made about the relationship between Sinn Féin and the IRA.

Last week he said he agreed with the PSNI assessment that the provisional army council continued to oversee both Sinn Féin and the IRA.

Today at a meeting of the Policing Authority, the Commissioner said his comments reflect the position of An Garda Síochána.

He would not however say what information, intelligence or assessment the garda's position is based on.

Drew Harris also said he had no regrets, his comments were entirely clear and there was no need for any clarification.

He rejected any charge that because of the timing of his comments just after the general election that his comments were politically motivated.

He said he would never engage in political interference and his comments "require no clarification or amplification".

"I stand over them," he said.

Following today's meeting, Commissioner Harris said society faces "a very serious threat" from organised crime, particularly from the drugs trade.

Drew Harris told the Policing Authority that a new policy was being implemented to focus on street dealing and local drugs units were getting additional staff and resources.

He also said gardaí needed to "tool ourselves up with legislation" to deal with organised crime.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll said in the last 14 months there have been 34 organised crime cases where sentences of more than five years have been imposed on gangsters.

Eight of those, he said, were in the Special Criminal Court and five of those were between 11-13 years.

He also said that gardaí have saved many lives, including those of children, and have intervened in 75 threat to life cases.

Assistant Commissioner O'Driscoll said while these people are warned their lives are in danger, gardaí do not then "walk away". In many cases they have been there in significant numbers to ensure these people were not killed.

He also pointed out that it is often very difficult to protect children involved in organised crime because of their behaviour, the level of violence they engage in and the gangs they belong to.

He said many of these children are "out of control" but they do engage with their parents and guardians, Tusla and said the Children First guidelines are followed.

Commissioner Harris also told the authority that the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit is focused on prevention and deterrence as well as investigating suspected corruption.

He said a number of risk areas had been identified including misuse of substances, theft of data and sexual misconduct.

He said he was concerned that he was not seeing the level of reporting of misconduct in the gardaí that was evident in police services of similar size in the UK.

He said it was difficult to say how many corruption cases the unit could see in a year but in his time as Commissioner he had seen cases of sexual misconduct which he described as "egregious" and these were being worked through.

Mr Harris said that it might seem "common sense" but the garda organisation needed to be clear that this was not acceptable.

Assistant Commissioner Dave Sheahan told the Policing Authority that the discipline regulations were being changed to allow the anti-corruption unit to take action much earlier.

He also said the organisation was developing policies around corruption and expected to have a policy of substance misuse in place by the end of next month.

The Commissioner also said it was "entirely appropriate" that gardaí are subjected to random drug testing, particularly those working in armed and roads policing units.

He said while there was no legal basis at present to allow the gardaí to carry out such tests he said some tests can be covered under Health and Safety rules.

He said that extra stringent structures in relation to drug testing gardaí need to be put in place.

Assistant Commissioner Sheahan said that most other police services have such a system in place but these are governed by legislation.

He also said they had the support of the garda associations to bring in random drug testing as they also see the need for it.