FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin says he is in favour of his party supporting the abortion legislation as it is "consistent with a pro-life position".
In his first public comments on the legislation since the draft heads of the bill were published, Mr Martin admits achieving consensus in his party will be difficult.
He was less firm than previously on ruling out a free vote on the issue, which a number of party figures have called for.
Fianna Fail's potential support for the bill would be a major boost for the Government as it would mean the four main parties were all on board for passing the legislation.
The prospect of the legislation being passed without a divisive vote in the Dail could also be on the cards, as a result.
But his stance puts him at odds with large sections of his party, following the passing of three strongly pro-life motions at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.
Mr Martin said he had indicated his position to the Fianna Fail parliamentary party and he said he doesn't regard a referendum as an alternative.
"I think that the bill is consistent with a pro-life position. I think it's a restrictive piece of legislation, which I think actually limits what the current situation is, I mean the current legal position is that basically a woman can seek an abortion on suicidal grounds in any hospital, one doctor making an assessment, no requirement for psychiatric assessment whatsoever.
"This bill provides a clear legal framework for that."