It has emerged that Taoiseach Brian Cowen met Justice Michael Moriarty last week after the judge requested the meeting.

Earlier, the head of the Moriarty Tribunal had written to the Clerk of the Dáil indicating a preference for presenting his long awaited report in two phases.

He said he would prefer to defer the section dealing with the awarding of the State's second mobile telephone licence.

It is not thought, however, that last week's meeting focussed on that suggestion.

The Tribunal has encountered major difficulties in recent times and was forced to admit having made serious mistakes earlier this year.

A prominent senior counsel with the inquiry is also understood to be ill and may not be able to resume work.

The Moriarty Tribunal has been running for nearly 13 years, has already cost almost €40m but the final bill is likely to be a multiple of that figure.

Mr Cowen is to meet with the main party leaders in the Dáil tomorrow to see if a co-ordinated response to the problems faced by the tribunal can be agreed.

However, there is little enthusiasm among Opposition leaders for the judge's suggestion of a two-stage report.