Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan he is not planning to hold a snap election if government formation talks collapse.
uring a two-hour meeting yesterday, Mr Varadkar reassured the Fianna Fáil and Green Party leaders he was not plotting an election, after a row broke out over the weekend.
The scheduled meeting took place after Fianna Fáil TDs criticised Fine Gael for asking civil servants to prepare for the possibility of an election during a pandemic.
Mr Varadkar told his counterparts he was unaware of work by officials in the Department of Housing and Local Government.
He assured Mr Martin and Mr Ryan Fine Gael was taking part in negotiations in good faith. The three agreed to work towards finalising a programme for government by the end of the month.
In a joint statement after the meeting, the three leaders said they were committed to "successfully concluding the talks and negotiating in good faith".
"They reaffirmed the talks will remain confidential and a running commentary will not be provided to the media from any of the parties on matters being discussed in the talks," the statement said.
"All parties are working to conclude a draft programme for government by the end of the month and for its consideration by each party in accordance with their respective arrangements thereafter," it added.
The row centred on reports Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy asked his officials to examine how an election could be carried out during the pandemic. Postal votes for those cocooning and allowing people vote in nursing homes were among the issues being considered.
Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East Thomas Byrne described the plans as "utterly sick" while Offaly TD Barry Cowen said it showed "bad faith" by Fine Gael.
Fine Gael said the "unwarranted" comments from the Fianna Fáil TDs "damaged" the government formation talks.
At a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night, members criticised the two Fianna Fáil TDs. Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne raised concerns about Fine Gael ministers being kept in the loop by Mr Byrne or one of his colleagues if they were the senior minister in a department.
Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring was also critical of Mr Byrne who, he said, politicised the Leaving Cert by calling for it to be cancelled.
Mr Ring said the party should be prepared for a snap election. Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan said Fianna Fáil could go into government with Sinn Féin if it did not trust Fine Gael.
Meanwhile, unelected ministers would be removed from office six weeks after a general election under proposed new laws. The legislation would require the Taoiseach to sack ministers who were not re-elected and nominate successors.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín, who is submitting the bill, said unelected ministers were costing the State €40,000 a week.
"The Aontú Bill seeks to ensure the prompt appointment of successors to ministers and ministers of state who have as a result of a general election ceased to be members of the Oireachtas," he said.
He said cabinet nominations would have to be approved by the Dáil and the President but ministers of state could be replaced by the government of the day under the legislation.
Mr Tóibín said 100 days after the General Election the country had "a Taoiseach with no mandate, a Cabinet where some ministers are unelected, a legislature that cannot legislate and a newly elected Dáil with very little ability to scrutinise".