The Fianna Fail leader has refused to be drawn on his chances of becoming taoiseach in the upcoming General Election.

Micheal Martin’s party has been polling favourably in recent weeks, with pundits predicting that Mr Martin is the clear favourite to become the Irish premier after the election on February 8.

“It’s not about Micheal Martin’s career, every election for every leader is significant but I want to stress, this election is a vital one for the Irish people because the Irish people want solutions, things are not working here, that’s the real issue.

“We want to create a better, more decent and fairer society.

“Obviously political parties will compete, leaders will compete, but it has to be about changing the country for the better and giving people realistic solutions to problems.

“I’m not going to make those type of calls in that type of scenario knowing the personalities involved in the campaign and how tight it’s going to be. ”

Fine Gael held 47 of the 158 seats available in the Dail on Tuesday when the election was called, Fianna Fail held 45.

When asked if he accepted he was the frontrunner in the campaign, Mr Martin said he “didn’t accept anything of the sort”.

“I’m a humble man as you know and as far as I’m concerned it’s very competitive, I think it’s neck and neck if I’m honest.”

Mr Martin refuted claims by opposition rivals that Fianna Fail cannot be trusted with the economy, and says the message on the doorsteps is that Irelan is ready for a change.

“The key issue for us is we need a change of government,” Mr Martin added.

“Things are simply not working in this country in so many areas, and these problems need to be addressed far faster and there needs to be greater delivery on these issues than we have experienced.

“Fine Gael has failed, they have failed in housing, health, cost of living, The National Children’s Hospital for example, the extraordinary way that ballooned out in expectations of cost, and the National Broadplan plan.

Fianna Fail Ard Fheis
Leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin is favoured to be taoiseach in some polls (Laura Hutton/PA)

“It illustrates lack of control, lack of hands-on management from Fine Gael ministers and we’ve picked up on the doorsteps that people are angry with the situation, young people in particular who can’t aspire to home ownership.

“(Fine Gael) haven’t delivered and haven’t got the capacity to deliver, that is why we need a change.”

Mr Martin went on to say he has “no problem” with the chosen date of February 8, which is a Saturday.

“We have no issue with the eighth but we want the public to have sufficient time to examine the policies and proposals, and a longer campaign would’ve given greater opportunity for the public to hold the government to account, but the date has been set and as far as we’re concerned, we’ll concentrate on the issues.”