TIPPERARY TD Noel Coonan has dismissed suggestions Fine Gael approached his constituency rival Michael Lowry about propping up a government after the next general election.
Mr Lowry is one of four Independent TDs who it understood to have held secret talks about potentially supporting a Fine Gael lead coalition.
The ‘gang of four’ also includes Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae, Galway TD Noel Grealish and Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughton.
In a statement released after Mr Lowry revealed the approach to the Sunday Independent, Mr Coonan said he was not surprised Independents would want to join Fine Gael.
However, Mr Coonan said he was “assured” by Fine Gael there was “no truth” in the claim that his party approached either his constituency rival or any other Independent TDs.
“It is presumptuous to say Fine Gael would approach any Deputy ahead of the election when it is the public that determine who is re-elected. In fact I would not be surprised if it were the reverse, and this is spin created by opposition TDs to rock what is a very stable administration in the hope they can be associated with our Fine Gael Party,” Mr Coonan
Speaking to the Sunday Independent last weekend, Mr Lowry said: "In the last six months, there have been all sorts of suggestions for consideration put to us privately."
"I have very good relationships within Fine Gael, understandably. If you form an agreement with a government, you need resilience, you need discipline to stay the distance, not flouncy types who will be out in a huff," he added.
Mr Healy-Rae also confirmed he had been approached.
Mr Lowry topped the poll ahead of Mr Coonan in the last general election in the Tipperary North constituency.
Tipperary North and Tipperary South will be merged into one five seat constituency for the next election.