| 15°C Dublin

TDs split ahead of secret ballot on leadership

MICHEAL Martin's heave against Brian Cowen has pitted Cork TDs against each other.

Mr Martin and Noel O'Flynn will be voting against the motion of confidence in the Taoiseach tomorrow, while Batt O'Keeffe will be supporting his boss.

Only a small minority of Fianna Fail TDs have publicly declared they will vote against the motion.

However, a large amount of the deputies have yet to reveal their hand, leaving the result very much in the balance.

Nevertheless, Mr Cowen has being drawing comfort from the 19 Dail members who have publicly said they will support him.

Dublin South TD Tom Kitt has said he will not back Mr Cowen.

The former chief whip, welcoming the opportunity to vote, revealed he will be voting for a change of leadership.

However, he has not said who he will back in the event of a leadership battle.

Mr O'Flynn, who represents Cork North Central, said he was disappointed that Mr Cowen, after consulting with the party, did not decide to leave his position.

"On Saturday, I called for him to go. On the 22nd of November I told him I did not have any confidence in him. I urged my parliamentary colleagues to support the candidature of Micheal Martin," he added.

"I will be voting no confidence in the leader of the party and I would hope that the vast majority of the party will do also."

Minister for Tourism Mary Hanafin, also seen as a possible leader, has not said how she will vote but it is expected she will vote against.

Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv is expected to back Mr Cowen.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has refused to comment on how he will vote tomorrow.

Deputies who have made public their view that a change is required also include John McGuinness, Ned O'Keeffe, Michael Kennedy, Chris Andrews, Sean Power and MJ Nolan.