A barrister has been appointed to carry out a statutory review into 'protection money' allegations involving Dublin City Council.
Senior counsel Patrick Butler will prepare a report for Minister Eoghan Murphy to establish whether the council had any role in events "which culminated in payments by construction companies to stop anti-social behaviour on social housing construction sites".
The allegations - involving at least two of three sites in the west of the city - emerged during a High Court case last month.
During a case involving the Criminal Assets Bureau, the court heard 'security' or 'protection money' was being paid to gangland figures to allow social housing be built in Cherry Orchard.
The court was told three firms - who were delivering the homes for DCC - were handing over between €1,200 and €1,500 a week to stop attacks on workers.
It also heard officials from the council were aware of what was happening and recommended the money was paid.
DCC has previously insisted it does not condone the payment of protection money by any of its contractors, and that no payments were made by the council to the individuals concerned.
The terms of reference of the statutory review of the allegations have been published today.
Mr Butler will examine all relevant documents held by the Council and interview officials who were involved in the projects.
Minister Murphy said: "I was extremely concerned by the matters that came to light during the recent court case. Local authorities must be able to provide urgently needed social housing, in particular in disadvantaged communities, without interference or obstruction by criminal elements.
"There must at all times be full oversight, transparency and accountability in the local authority system to ensure that public funding is used for the purposes for which it is intended.
"The idea that a public body and public money might be dispersed in respect of criminal behaviour shocked many so we must get to the bottom of this and find out the truth."
Mr Butler has been asked to prepare his report by 9th December.
In a statement last month, DCC said it did not pay protection money to gangs to stop attacks on workers at its building sites.
The council said it was aware of an "extraordinary level of intimidation and criminal activity directed at this contractor's staff, the city council's own staff and at the building site".
DCC said it was arranging for an "independent investigation" to be carried out into all aspects of its involvement in this matter.