Non-jury trials of terrorists and gangland criminals may be abolished if a new government is not formed within the next month.
Cabinet was told a new government must be formed if legislation underpinning the Special Criminal Court is to be passed by the Dáil at the end of next month.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan brought a memo to Cabinet seeking permission to renew the Offences Against the State Act by June 30.
The legislation, which allows for non-jury trials, is renewed every year by the Oireachtas. However, the legislation must pass through the Dáil and Seanad to ensure the court is legislated for.
A Cabinet source said Attorney General Seamus Woulfe was asked at the meeting if it is possible to pass the legislation in the absence of a new government.
Mr Woulfe said the legislation cannot pass until there is a properly constituted Seanad.
At present, the Seanad cannot pass legislation because it requires the appointment of 11 nominees from the Taoiseach.
This cannot be done until the next government is in place.
"It is the first example of a very immediate challenge," a Government minister said.
Even if a resolution could be found for how the Seanad votes, there are still concerns over how Sinn Féin and the Green Party would vote on the legislation. Sinn Féin votes against the legislation that allows non-jury courts to prosecute terrorists and criminals every year.
The Green Party has also opposed the Offences Against the State Act due to concerns over civil liberties in the non-jury courts it provides for.
Both Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin have voted against the Special Criminal Court at various times during the last Dáil. However, during the General Election, Mr Ryan said he would expect his TDs to vote for the legislation in this Dáil.
He said he was changing his position on the act in light of the gang violence which emerged from the Drogheda feud. His comments came after unsuccessful Green Party election candidate Saoirse McHugh said the Special Criminal Court should be abolished.
Sinn Féin's opposition to the legislation was a major campaign issue for the party in the 2016 General Election.
The party continued to oppose the Special Criminal Court despite the outbreak of gangland violence after the Regency Hotel attack.
During the recent election, the party said it was reviewing its position.
Last night, a Department of Justice spokesperson said the Government is "determined to renew the measures by the end of June in the interests of national security".
She said if the legislation lapsed "any implications for any cases would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis".
In a briefing after Cabinet, a Government spokesperson said: "The legislation requires that the sections in question must be renewed by the Oireachtas at specified intervals.
"The relevant sections were continued in force for a period of 12 months beginning on June 30, 2019," he added.
The Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing.
The legislation contains anti-terrorism provisions making it an offences to direct an unlawful organisation, and training persons in the making and use of firearms.