Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are edging closer to forming a government but they don't appear to fully trust each other.

That much seems clear after a weekend where news of those plans to carry out future elections within Covid-19 safety guidelines seriously spooked many in Fianna Fáil.

The party did not know the work was under way at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

They reacted angrily, particularly Thomas Byrne and Barry Cowen; the latter accusing Fine Gael of acting in bad faith.

At its core though was the lingering suspicion among some in Fianna Fáil that Fine Gael would prefer another general election to forming a government.

Not so, insisted Fine Gael, who said the work under way at the Custom House was a Constitutional requirement that public servants were obliged to carry out.

The row appeared to have been smoothed over by the ongoing contact between Dara Calleary and Simon Coveney throughout the weekend.

There was a good deal of work done too during Saturday and Sunday between the two parties and the Greens on draft texts for tomorrow's government formation talks.

However, Fine Gael believed the scale of the attack from Barry Cowen and Thomas Byrne had to be marked.

Hence the statement describing it as "unwarranted" and damaging to the talks process.

Another contributing factor to these events is the residual hurt that Fine Gael feels over Thomas Byrne's combative approach during the uncertainty surrounding the holding of the Leaving Certificate.

There is a view in Fine Gael, expressed privately, that some "law and order" has to be put on Fianna Fáil as the talks enter a crunch phase.

A point that Leo Varadkar is likely to make, albeit more subtly, to Micheál Martin when they meet tomorrow.

On Monday too the government formation talks will focus on housing and there will be a plenary session in the afternoon.

The talking will continue but this was damaging episode.

Nonetheless it's not an irretrievable crisis.