Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien has insisted that the Government will remain cohesive as he sought to play down the row between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Last week, three Fine Gael junior ministers wrote an article proposing a €1,000 tax break for workers in autumn's budget.

Standing alongside his constituency colleague, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, he claimed the events of the last week had been overplayed.

Mr O’Brien said the best place to put a budget together was at Cabinet, saying it will be in keeping with the agreed Programme for Government.

He vowed that the three parties in Government would agree on a progressive budget with a focus on people’s needs, the economy and housing.

Mr O’Brien said that housing remains the number one priority for the Government and there has to be an increase in the supply of good social and affordable homes.

His comments come as the leaders of the three Government parties are due to hold a regular meeting.

Since that piece by the Fine Gael junior ministers last Monday, the comments have morphed into a wider rift involving the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Enterprise and Trade, junior ministers and backbenchers.

Stability of Government not in question, says McGrath
FG ministers defend call for €1,000 tax cuts in Budget

Offside: FG subs kick off Budget play, as FF on defence
Budget kite-flying: Spat - or looming civil war?

Yesterday, senior Fianna Fáil backbench TD Barry Cowen accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of "pure electioneering" when he doubled down on the Fine Gael tax position yesterday.

But Minister for Justice, Fine Gael's Simon Harris, countered that it was entirely appropriate for his party to articulate its policy position.

Sinn Féin said the Government should be more concerned with issues such as tackling inflation and lowering homelessness rather than bickering over tax cuts.

If this vexed question cannot be resolved at the regular Coalition leaders' meeting, it will begin to raise questions about the level of trust that exists between the three parties.

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham