The Garda Commissioner has said he has set up an investigation to examine the handling of cases where allegations of domestic or sexual abuse have been made against members of the gardaí.

Drew Harris said the decision was made following the Sarah Everard case in the UK, where a police officer, Wayne Couzens, abducted the 33-year-old in South London, raped and murdered her.

A small team is being established under the auspices of the Garda's Protective Services Bureau to ensure these investigations are properly conducted.

Commissioner Harris said they had identified a number of current cases for examination and would then decide whether they needed to also look at historic cases.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct in the UK is currently investigating allegations that police failed to investigate indecent exposure allegations against Couzens six years ago.

It is also looking at the police's response to a separate report of indecent exposure three days before the attack.

Commissioner Harris said they had watched carefully the UK police response to the Sarah Everard case and there were some lessons which they would wish to build upon.

He said they were looking at any investigations that are ongoing in terms of members of the gardaí involved in allegations of domestic or sexual assault to make sure those are properly conducted and advancing in terms of reporting to the DPP.

"We want to be sure we are providing a high-quality investigative service and looking towards making sure that our own organisation is in the position of protecting women and can have the confidence of women that it is protecting them from violence," he said.

On the issue of garda corruption, Commissioner Harris said An Garda Síochána was full of individuals, the vast majority of whom are hardworking, honest and committed to policing in Ireland.

However, he said, within that there are a small group of individuals who are not living up to the high standards expected and some of whom are engaged in criminality.

"It is an unpleasant reality but we need to deal with it," he said.

"When we find wrongdoing we deal with it or we support GSOC in their investigations. We created an Anti Corruption Unit and when you flag to an organisation that wrongdoing will be dealt with then wrongdoing will be reported to you."

The commissioner also rejected criticism of the establishment of the unit in the Garda Ombudsman's annual report.

"The ombudsman is on the outside, we are on the inside," he said.

"I have responsibility for the organisation. Serious misconduct, criminality won't be tolerated. We are in the office, we'll hear what's happening and people will report to us. We keep the ombudsman informed."