FINE GAEL TDs who rebelled against the Government on its Croke Park stance last year have insisted they are not challenging Enda Kenny's leadership.
Sean Kyne and Paul Connaughton have dismissed claims that they went behind the back of Mr Kenny when they approached the Attorney General for legal advice on paying pensions to bankers and former politicians.
The Galway TDs were among the original "five-a-side gang" who fell foul of the Taoiseach when news of their private meetings emerged.
But they have now insisted both Mr Kenny and the party leadership have their full support. Mr Connaughton said that since writing an open letter to the Government calling for the system of pay rises and allowances for high-earning public servants to be re-examined last October, the gang of newly elected TDs were almost afraid to meet en masse for fear of starting rumours of dissent.
"The issue with the Croke Park plan happened but now any time two or three of us are in a group we start to feel nervous that people think we're up to something. There is nothing going on," he said.
The group were given the "five-a-side" nickname because they are all young men who are understood to play football and socialise together.