Micheál Martin has said there has been no backlash within his party over his stance on abortion.
The Fianna Fáil leader told the Dáil last night that he would be in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment, allowing unrestricted terminations up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.
Last night he said: "I believe the case for change is justified by the full range of evidence available to us and I will vote for this change.
"Nothing we say or do here could make Ireland a country without abortion."
The statement puts Mr Martin at odds with the pro-life stance taken at his party's recent Ard Fheis.
However, he claims his party colleagues will support him.
He said: "A number of TDs have contacted me appreciating that it was difficult call for me, and it was, I mean this wasn't something I came about easily.
"You may recall in some interviews before Christmas I was wrestling with the issue of rape and incest, because it's one thing to show empathy in that issue, it's a completely differnet thing to have to do something about it."
A junior minister says he cannot support ending a viable pregnancy under any circumstances.
John Paul Phelan told the Dáil he will not support a repeal of the 8th amendment.
He said: "A very good friend of mine who was the product of a sexual assault, a most heinous crime that could be committed against any woman, or man in many respects.
"But I couldn't really look him in the face and say that, you know, the world would be better if you didn't exist."