Fianna Fáil Party Whip Seán Ó Fearghail has said the six-man committee to decide the party's election strategy will meet within two weeks to decide what to recommend to the Parliamentary Party.

Mr Ó Fearghail rejected a newspaper report that a majority of the committee are against running an internal candidate.

He said he was in favour of running an internal candidate if there is a reasonable prospect of winning or doing well.

Asked about the prospects of MEP Brian Crowley, he said Mr Crowley has many wonderful attributes but whether any Fianna Fáil candidate can attract the necessary support in the current climate has yet to be evaluated.

Mr Ó Fearghail also commended Micheál Martin for approaching broadcaster Gay Byrne about the election, saying that it was appropriate to do so when Mr Byrne emerged as a possible credible candidate.

Earlier, former Fianna Fáil TD Mary O’Rourke said that she did not believe Mr Martin has been seriously damaged by his support for Mr Byrne.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mrs O'Rourke said she did not agree, however, with Mr Martin's approach.