The Garda Commissioner said he is concerned about a small number of serving gardaí, despite his attempts to dismiss them.

Drew Harris told the Policing Authority today that he had recommended dismissal in a number of cases, but his decisions had not been upheld on appeal.

He said he believed they had committed "gross misconduct" by misusing their position, primarily to pursue a sexual relationship, which he would view as being coercive but did not cross the criminal threshold.

According to Mr Harris, the number of gardaí was "small" - three or four at most.

"It's a risk to the public and a reputational risk," he said. "It should be remedied in new conduct regulations, what’s lacking in present regulations is public confidence and concern for public safety."

"We’ve seen terrible incidents in other jurisdictions which have occurred almost in plain sight and nothing has been done about it.

"We have to recognise we hold extraordinary powers, we have access to vulnerable people and there is an opportunity to exploit," Mr Harris said.

"We want to learn from other jurisdictions that we don’t make the same mistakes ourselves," he said.