Brian Lenihan, the Irish Minister for Finance has ruled out the idea that he is running for the position of Prime Minister and insists that Brian Cowen’s position is not up for grabs.

A spokesperson for Lenihan said there was no foundation to the rumors. There were claims that he had been talking to backbenchers with the aim of mounting a coup.

His statement said that his focus is on the economic situation in Ireland and that he “certainly is not” plotting to overthrow the Prime Minister.

Opinion polls due out this week will put the spotlight on Cowen’s position.

Last week the Prime Minister faced criticism about his performance in a morning radio interview on RTE’s Morning Ireland.