Read more: Irish leader Brian Cowen battles move to replace him

Ministers from Fianna Fail are seeking parliamentarians’ support for a challenge to the leadership of Prime Minster Brian Cowen.

On Thursday evening Mr Cowen refused to step down from his position although his handling of the economic crisis and his ties to Anglo Irish bankers Sean Fitzpatrick have placed his future in doubt. Mr Cowen will now hold meetings with all TDs and Senators.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, told local press that it was important that all party members had their say.

Brian Lenihan, Minister for Finance, and Mary Hanafin, Minister for Tourism have both expressed interest in taking over his position.

A Fianna Fail MP spoke to Reuters on Friday. They said “Ministers are continuing to contact members of the parliamentary party about a possible move." The MP declined to give their name.

To table a motion of no-confidence in Mr Cowen lawmakers need at least 18 signatures and the support of more than half of the 74 Fianna Fail MPs to topple the party leader at the party meeting next Tuesday.

The numbers of detractors seems to have been growing over the last two days. Conor Lenihan said “From consultations with my own party membership, there seems to be a feeling that it is the right time for a change of leadership.” He also said that his brother, Minister for Finance, Brian and Michael Martin has both has discussions with Mr Cowen about his intentions.

If his leadership is toppled it is most likely that the Parliament would be dissolved and the election held in February.

Read more: Irish leader Brian Cowen battles move to replace him