A Fine Gael TD has broken ranks with the party and claimed he has no confidence in Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.
Wexford deputy Michael D'Arcy has said communities across the country, in particular the north inner city, were being "failed" by Ms O'Sullivan.
The Fine Gael backbencher said Ms O'Sullivan has had almost two years at the top of the garda force and yet morale was in "crisis" and communities were being "left behind".
He also hit out at her decision to appoint four new assistant commissioners just weeks before responsibility for such promotions switches to the new independent Policing Authority.
Mr D'Arcy also raised questions over the appointment of Ms O'Sullivan's husband, Jim McGowan, to the post of chief superintendent weeks before the new authority took over such responsibility.
Mr McGowan was among dozens of gardai who went through the official interview process.
The decision by Mr D'Arcy to express an absence of confidence in Commissioner O'Sullivan will cause concern in the Fine Gael ranks.
Privately, other Fine Gael TDs have said they have have reservations about the commissioner's performance.
However, Mr D'Arcy is the first TD to go public.
There is also major disquiet within the party over how Tanaiste and justice minister Frances Fitzgerald is handing the gangland crisis.
Mr D'Arcy issued the rebuke at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.
He also claimed that the party and the garda force was failing what he described as the "underclasses".
Other TDs at the meeting said they disagreed with the use of the term by Mr D'Arcy. But the Wexford TD says the term applies to "people who have no hope that society will give them any leg up or opportunity".
Mr D'Arcy also strongly attacked his party's treatment of families living in working-class estates.
He said this was illustrated by the level of despondency within the north inner city in relation to the Government's response to the recent gangland murders.