A senior Fianna Fáil TD has said it would be a "rubbish idea" for the party to support a minority Fine Gael government if no majority administration emerges after the election.
Fianna Fáil TDs are divided on the matter even though a number of deputies say it is the most likely option in the event of Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil being unable to lead a government.
Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív said supporting a Fine Gael government would be a "rubbish idea" for his party.
“We will not support Fine Gael. End of story. No matter how much the media try to push it,” he said.
Another deputy, who did not want to be named, said it would be “mad”. “Do you think we are all stupid?”
However, other deputies and senior party figures said such a scenario is the likeliest outcome while almost all ruled out a full-blown coalition with Fine Gael.
A number of party TDs – such as Niall Collins and Willie O'Dea – are on record as saying they would not object to a situation where Fianna Fáil supports a Fine Gael minority government on a case by case basis.
This would only occur if Fine Gael was implementing policy that Fianna Fáil could support. A number of sources suggested the abolition of Irish Water and the scrapping of water charges would be “a start”.
Mr Collins on Monday said his party would always act in the national interest and that there was merit in supporting a fair and progressive government. However, he said Fianna Fáil would not prop up a Fine Gael-led government.
“Fine Gael came into this election thinking it would be a coronation, that they would just have to go round the course and complete the hurdles. But they now know they are in a contest and that they are under pressure in the polls,” Mr Collins said.
While a number of Fine Gael sources are open to taking Fianna Fáil support for a minority government, they believe such an arrangement would not last.
Laois Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming said whatever party gets the largest share of the vote and secures the most seats should attempt to form a government. Mr Fleming said he would like Fianna Fáil to attempt coalition with Labour, the Social Democrats, Renua and some Independents.