No confidence vote blocked by whip
A no confidence vote in the Government has been blocked as Taoiseach Brian Cowen fought off questions over his leadership.
Amid a Cabinet rift over his future, the Labour Party attempted to flush out Mr Cowen's opponents by forcing the motion.
But Chief Whip John Curran refused to free up Dail time on Friday, forcing the party to wait for more than a week to test the Taoiseach's support.
"The reality is that this is just another meaningless political stunt which exposes (Labour leader) Eamon Gilmore's reluctance to abandon the 'politics as usual' approach," Mr Curran said.
"This is a shallow posturing approach to politics which does nothing to aid economic recovery."
Mr Gilmore branded the Government dysfunctional and said it was reneging on commitments to hold an election in the early part of the year.
"We now have a Government where one party says it is fully out of Government, but not yet," he said.
"Several Cabinet ministers have announced that they are not going to contest the next general election anyway and the rest of them are squabbling over who should be the next leader of Fianna Fail.
"Meanwhile there's nobody running the country."
But the Opposition itself is divided over the no confidence motion - Fine Gael claimed it could serve to unite the Government.