Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has been challenged by his own party members about the leaking of internal party matters to the press.
Mr Ryan has come under increased pressure in recent weeks after stories about the inner workings of his party and their views on government formation have appeared in the national media.
Political commentators have speculated about a “split” in the party, messaging which some within the Greens believe is coming from the leader himself.
In one instance, Mr Ryan was confronted about rumours that had emerged about the possibility of someone from the Green Party taking on the role of Tánaiste in a new coalition government.
When challenged by his parliamentary colleagues on the issue, Mr Ryan allegedly admitted to the leaks, but claimed he may have “misspoken” when speaking to journalists, two party sources have confirmed.
A source within the party said that Mr Ryan did not seem embarrassed about the issue.
“The problem is with Eamon continuing to leak stuff to get his way, you can’t hide a split,” the source said.
“It’s not imagined that he’s leaking either, it’s not paranoia from the membership, he’s admitted it, when he was challenged on it, he wasn’t embarrassed either.
“He said: ‘I must’ve misspoken.’ ”
Mr Ryan has publicly called for the suspension of government formation talks after his party threw their weight behind a “unity government” to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, he has attempted to persuade his party colleagues to get on board with a Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael coalition, suggesting that they could “concentrate on headline issues” such as health, housing, and the environment.
“You would’ve hoped we would keep our eye on policy, that’s what we promised people during the election,” a source in the Green Party added.
“He doesn’t seem to have been burned at all about his last time in government. I don’t think he gets what is on the line here.
“People tell him all the time what a competent minister he was, and he loves to hear it, but there’s people within the party who disagree.
“All of this is about his personal trajectory, he’d jump into Cabinet right this second if he could get a ministry.
“It seems now Eamon wants to be the Tánaiste, and that’s all the matters to him.
“The TDs who were elected in February had no idea about his motivations.”
The Green Party would have to get any coalition deal approved by two thirds of their membership. This could prove to be a difficult task, and one that many believe the younger membership of the Green Party would not vote for.
“If we don’t have our principles, what’s the point of the Greens?” the source said.
“For all his leaking and dirty tricks, it’s not going to get across the membership in a vote, it doesn’t seem to have any impact.”
Another source within the party who confirmed the confrontation took place, said that it is “clear there’s a difference of opinion within the party about government formation”.
“It’s fair to say Eamon has a goal, and he is relentless in pursuing those goals.”
Mr Ryan has been repeatedly approached for comment.