Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has signalled the establishment of an inquiry into allegations of Garda collusion in the heroin trade.
In correspondence seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Flanagan confirmed he has sought a report from Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin into serious claims made by Garda whistleblower Nick Keogh.
Mr Keogh says his life has been destroyed since presenting allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the Midlands, where he was deployed.
Central to his allegations is that gardaí colluded with a drug dealer who was being investigated for selling heroin.
The allegations about collusion are being examined by Mr Ó Cualáin and the Garda ombudsman, Gsoc.
Separate allegations that Mr Keogh was bullied and harassed are being probed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn.
In a letter to Mr Keogh last week, Mr Flanagan said he cannot intervene in the ongoing investigation.
"The investigation into allegations of Garda members being complicit in the sale and supply of heroin is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and you will appreciate the minister has no authority to direct the commissioner in the control, operation and direction of An Garda Síochána," Mr Flanagan's office wrote. "While the minister cannot involve himself in the matters addressed here, he has asked the Garda Commissioner for an up-to-date report."
Mr Flanagan added that "should the investigations prove inconclusive when finalised, the establishment of an inquiry would be examined to address the substance of the allegations".