The Taoiseach has defended the Government's decision to appoint a new secretary general to head up the Department of Justice without a public competition.

Aidan O'Driscoll moves to the role from his post as top civil servant in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

He will be tasked with implementing a major restructuring of the department, which has been the subject of several controversies and resignations in recent years.

In the Dáil the Independents4Change TD, Tommy Broughan, asked why the appointment was made without a public competition.

Leo Varadkar said there is no requirement for all Secretary General positions to be open to public competition.

He said the Government took the view that it was important that the person appointed should have the experience of being a secretary general in another department.

"So this is effectively a promotion," he said.

However he said that when it comes to filling the vacancy at the Department of Agriculture created by Mr O'Driscoll's departure, this will be open to public competition.

The Taoiseach was also asked about new CSO figures which that show an increase in crime across most categories.

Mr Varadkar said the Government would like to see more garda visibility, and is increasing garda numbers to allow this to happen.

However he said this would also require greater levels of garda civilianisation, and "we are going to need co-operation from the Garda Representative Association and others in order to change that".

He said new rosters may also need to be introduced so that gardaí were working when people needed them most.

"We may have to ask people to do rosters which they consider to be anti-social," he said.