Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said today that he would "neither confirm nor deny" reports that he suggested James Reilly was not fit to be Health Minister.
It follows newspaper reports yesterday suggesting that Ruairi Quinn confided to a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that Minister Reilly was "not up to the job".
However Minister Quinn said the Labour parliamentary party holds its meetings in private, and that he would not breach confidentiality.
"Whatever about leaks, I regard them [the meetings] as confidential," he said.
"We cannot do our business unless they remain confidential, and I'm not going to confirm or deny or in anyway change my comment that I made repeatedly about Dr Jim Reilly.
"He has both my confidence and my sympathy. He has an extremely difficult job to do."