The Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said his party is ready to take on Fine Gael and Labour "whenever (they) stop the bickering and call the election".
In a planned address to the Fianna Fáil faithful at a fundraising dinner in Dublin tonight, Mr Martin also again challenged Enda Kenny to a debate, saying it could even take place at a Fine Gael meeting in Mayo.
Mr Martin decided not to deliver the speech in light of the tragedy in Carrickmines, but the words of his speech still stand.
In his written speech, he claimed Enda Kenny was "wriggling out" of a debate with stage-managed speeches and short interviews.
He said Enda Kenny's rhetoric of people voting for stability or chaos was wearing thin and that the chaos is in fact what the coalition is delivering in vital public services.
Mr Martin said there should be a proper 90-minute debate and that he was happy to have that debate in Mayo - and even to allow Fine Gael Minister of State Michael Ring to be the moderator and ask the questions.
He said Fianna Fáil was election-ready and appointed former Minister Pat Carey as the party's director of elections.
Mr Martin said Enda Kenny needed to "stop the campaign of saying it's vote for the coalition or the end of the world", and that when Fine Gael and Labour end their bickering and call the election, Fianna Fáil is ready for them.
His remarks came against the background of reports that leading figures in Fine Gael favour an early election before Christmas, with Tánaiste Joan Burton and many of her Labour colleagues preferring a post-Christmas election.