The Taoiseach has said he has full confidence in the Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan.

Brian Cowen said he was not aware of any discontent in the Fianna Fáil party, which he said was committed to getting on with its business.

Mr Cowen was reacting to comments by former junior minister John McGuinness.

He also denied that the Tánaiste had issued an ultimatium that if Mr McGuinness did not go, she would.

Mr McGuinness, who was dropped by the Taoiseach on Wednesday, told RTÉ's Late Late Show that he told the Tánaiste he did not have full confidence in her ability to do the job of Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment.

However in a statement, Ms Coughlan says Mr McGuinness had never conveyed those comments to her.

She says she understood that the deputy may now be upset after losing his position.

Speaking in Tullamore today, Mr Cowen said it was time for people to move on.

Mr McGuinness told Pat Kenny that the position of Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment required ‘a greater understanding of the challenges of business’.

He added that many people working at the Department of Enterprise were ‘out of touch’ with the realities of the business sector.

He said that the Tánaiste was more suited to her previous position as Minister of Agriculture.

Fine Gael's employment spokesman, Leo Varadkar, said last night's comments show the country needs a new government.

Mr Varadkar said we cannot get the country out of recession with the wrong team in charge.

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