The leading contender to be the next Fine Gael leader has declined to publicly call on Enda Kenny to step down.
But Minister Leo Varadkar has referred to Enda Kenny's leadership of the party in the past tense.
Pressure is mounting on Enda Kenny to outline when he will step down as party leader, amid criticism of his handling of the Garda whistleblower controversy.
Ministers Leo Varadker and Simon Coveney both told last night’s Parliamentary Party meeting that the party needs to be ready for an election from now on.
Fine Gael sources have also indicated that the Taoiseach will face a leadership challenge next week, if he does not give a firm indication of when he will step down.
Leo Varadkar this afternoon echoed comments made earlier by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who said recent political events had brought the prospect of a general election closer.
Mr Varadkar told reporters that Mr Kenny would know the right time to stand aside for himself, the party and for the country.
Meanwhile the Taoiseach himself has referred to the apparent end of his tenure with the words "C'est la vie".
He was speaking at the end of the Finance Committee hearing, when the chairman, Fianna Fail’s John McGuinness offered the Taoiseach his best wishes during a difficult time.
The Dail has signed off on the terms of reference for a new Tribunal into Garda whistleblowers.
The inquiry has been expanded to include the treatment of other whistleblowers, as well as Maurice McCabe.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has promised to sign the necessary paperwork to get the Tribunal up and running as soon as possible.