Leo Varadkar wants an agreed 2020 date for the next election

The Fianna Fáil leader has rejected the Taoiseach's call for talks on an extension to the confidence and supply agreement.

In a letter to Leo Varadkar this afternoon, Micheál Martin insisted that Fianna Fáil will not discuss an extension until after the Budget is agreed and announced.

It comes after Mr Varadkar wrote to his Fianna Fáil counterpart last Friday - calling for the arrangement to be extended and for a 2020 date to be set for the next election.

He warned that a government “cannot function properly if it does not know if it will last from week to week” or if it “does not know what will happen the day after the Budget.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

Writing in response however, Deputy Martin said he does not “see a reasonable basis” for the Taoiseach’s concerns over Government stability.

“It would be extraordinary if we were to agree that ministers could not be expected to do their jobs without the advance assurance of a compliant Dáil," he said.

He warned that it is “plain for all to see that there are still serious deficiencies, particularly regarding the emergency in housing and the crisis in our health services.”

He finished by saying he “will be happy” to discuss an extension after the budget is announced in October.

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Speaking this afternoon, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the Taoiseach's position is clear.

“In fairness, what the Taoiseach indicated is the objectives that he would like to pursue by the end of an extended supply and confidence agreement which, as you know, would have a number of budgets within it,” he said.

“In the publication of the letter today, the Taoiseach and the Fine Gael party are making clear that we want to see an atmosphere of political stability continue in our country.”

Earlier, Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley said the Taoiseach should be focusing his efforts on issues like health and housing:

"It would appear to be just a distraction away from the real issues which is focusing on the budget,” he said.

“The Taoiseach wants to talk about confidence and supply when we're just getting started on the budget."

The two parties will begin negotiations on the budget tomorrow.

It will then be announced on October 9th.