FF 'will back Murphy if a deal is made on Budget'
Fianna Fail would use a motion of no confidence as leverage ahead of Budget negotiations rather than to bring down the Government, the Herald has learned.
Micheal Martin's party has not made any formal decision about how it will react if Sinn Fein attempts to oust housing minister Eoghan Murphy soon.
However, senior sources say the party would be slow to breach the confidence and supply agreement, which is due to expire anyway after October's Budget.
Instead, TDs expect that Mr Martin would make a series of demands relating to the housing sector in return for his continued support.
One senior party figure said they were "more worried about getting a good housing budget than embarrassing Eoghan Murphy".
It is believed Fianna Fail would ramp up pressure in the areas of social housing and affordable rent.
Another source said there would be "pluses and minuses" to supporting any Sinn Fein motion because the Government has "utterly failed" on the issue.
"It would be difficult to sit on our hands but we have been responsible up to now," they said.
"At the end of the day, we are probably six or eight months away from an election so there's no reason to create a storm and risk things like the abortion legislation."
Sinn Fein has been threatening a motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy since early May.
The party is allocated speaking time next Tuesday but has decided to table a motion relating to the health sector.
Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he has "no interest" in a snap election.
"My focus is on securing jobs in the economy, negotiating Brexit, building more houses and dealing with some of the issues in healthcare.
"But if Fianna Fail wants to cause an election by refusing to renew the confidence and supply agreement or if Sinn Fein wants to cause it, through a motion of no confidence, well they will be the cause of it."
Fianna Fail housing spokesman Darragh O'Brien yesterday refused to say which way he would encourage colleagues to vote in a no-confidence motion.
He claimed Sinn Fein has been expressing "faux outrage" as part of an attempt to re-establish its own credentials.