Fianna Fáil decided to table a motion of no confidence in the Tánaiste over the Maurice McCabe email saga, effectively ending the confidence and supply deal, which has underpinned the minority Government for 18 months.
It puts the country on the brink of a general election campaign that would run over Christmas.
“Fianna Fáil does not want an election but we cannot express confidence in the Tánaiste as a direct consequence of her failure to act upon receiving the email about Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe,” the Fianna Fáil leader told the Evening Echo.
“There must be consequences for this debacle.”
“If an election is called, it will be because the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have refused to do what is right and necessary. The Taoiseach can ask the Tánaiste to resign or she herself can resign,” he added.
Mr Martin also said that the current crisis surrounding the Tánaiste will only be one of the reasons for a general election. “Fine Gael should know that if there is an election it will not be about Frances Fitzgerald, it will be about their failures in health and housing,” he said.
Fine Gael is standing by the Tánaiste and parliamentary party members expressed full confidence in her last night, but the Fianna Fáil leader says she must go.
"It's now up to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, in the national interest, to do what is necessary if they want to avoid such a scenario,” added Mr Martin.
Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath said the onus is on everyone to avoid an immediate general election.
“It seems to me the only way to avoid one now is if the Tanaiste makes a personal decision over the weekend to step aside.
“There is no desire on the part of Fianna Fáil to bring about an election but at the same time we all have to clear on the cause of this crisis - FG in government was complicit in a sustained campaign to discredit and destroy the Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe,” he added.
“The government will try to spin that this is all about an email but that is nonsense. The issue is much more fundamental than that and goes to heart of the dysfunctional handling by this government of the justice portfolio.”
Fianna Fail Councillor Kenneth O’Flynn said his fellow party members across the country are ready for a general election.
“We’ve been ready for a general election for the last twelve months. If a general election is called and we’re called to go, we will be ready,” he added.
“Fianna Fail members across the country aren’t afraid of an election.”