Fine Gael's Deputy Leader says backbench TDs will use this evening's parliamentary party meeting to express concerns over the McNulty controversy.
Minister James Reilly admits the handling of John McNulty's Seanad nomination has not been the party’s "finest hour".
His comments come after a number of TDs say they are "deflated" and "disappointed" over the cronyism row - with many anticipating robust exchanges this evening.
James Reilly says he expects many backbenchers to make their disappointment known.
"I do expect that there'll be further expressions of concern and I think that's only right and proper," he said.
"I've heard other people speak about a sense of fear within the party - I've never sensed any fear in the party.
"All I've sensed is availability of people to express their opinions when they feel strongly about something.
"I don't know how many people contributed but certainly well over 20 last week at the Fine Gael party meeting, and I've no doubt there'll be as many again."