Party leaders Charles Haughey, Garret FitzGerald and Frank Cluskey are confident ahead of the general election.

Against a background of high unemployment, emigration and the hunger strikes, party leaders take to the campaign trail ahead of the election on 11 June.

The general election will see Garret FitzGerald, Charles Haughey and Frank Cluskey lead the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour parties.

Sitting Taoiseach, Charles Haughey engaged in a nationwide tour which drew large crowds of supporters. In Thurles, where thousands had turned out. Mr Haughey delivered his now familiar message that only Fianna Fáil can provide a government on its own. This has been a consistent message on the election trail. Mr Haughey is happy with how it has gone to date on a number of levels and is pleased with the reception he has received along the way.

My own personal tour of the country has been very successful.

Charles Haughey is pleased with how the campaign has been effectively conducted and the Fianna Fáil message has been clearly communicated.

Due to his hectic schedule, Fianna Fáil has employed the use of helicopters allowing Charles Haughey and his campaign to travel from one constituency to another very quickly.

In Tipperary farming communities, Fianna Fáil is facing increasing independent competition. In an effort to maintain support for the party in the region, Mr Haughey visited Cashel and spoke about the importance of agriculture and the farming community.

I believe we can work for the betterment of farming, for the betterment of agriculture and ultimately for the betterment of the Irish economy and the Irish nation as a whole.

In Limerick, Charles Haughey was joined by Minister for Industry and Commerce Des O'Malley. Mr Haughey is confident that Fianna Fáil will continue to garner support in the region despite opinion polls which he describes as sometimes right but also sometimes wrong. He prefers to judge party popularity by the canvas. His confidence is further boosted by the fact that the Fianna Fáil campaign song 'We’ll Be There’ has reached number seven in the Irish charts. Mr Haughey believes that the election will result in an overall majority for Fianna Fáil. While his campaign has been a personal success, it remains to be seen if this success will transfer to votes for the party.

We’re looking for an overall majority in this campaign.

The Fine Gael election campaign also took to the skies employing the use of helicopters to cover as many constituencies as possible.

The Fine Gael machine has continued to pound away at the government on the issues of the economy, jobs and prices.

Leader of the Fine Gael party Dr Garret FitzGerald also made a major statement on Northern Ireland which included an attack on Charles Haughey. He referenced Mr Haughey’s "ambiguity on violence" and his lack of leadership.

Leadership requires imagination tempered by experience and steadiness of purpose.

Mr FitzGerald criticises Mr Haughey’s "unproductive" relationship with the British Prime Minister and government. He believes that Fine Gael’s approach would be far more productive.

Garret FitzGerald is very confident with how the campaign has gone for the Fine Gael party with huge crowds turning out in all constituencies. He believes that there has been a swing in support towards Fine Gael in both rural and urban areas. While Mr FitzGerald is reluctant to predict the outcome of the election, he is confident that Fine Gael will be the largest party in the next Dáil.

The Labour Party leader Frank Cluskey also engaged in a 19 day election tour of the country with record crowds in Cork city where he was joined by two Labour hopefuls Eileen Desmond and Lord Mayor of Cork Toddy O’Sullivan.

He received an enthusiastic welcome from some of the city’s postal workers.

Outside the Labour Party’s headquarters in Cork, Mr Cluskey addressed one of the largest gatherings of Labour’s election workers and supporters. His message was one of optimism for the future of the Labour Party. Leaving Cork for Galway, Frank Cluskey was followed by over two hundred cars beeping their horns in support for the Labour leader.

Reflecting on the campaign, Mr Cluskey says that the response to the Labour canvas has been extremely positive across constituencies.

I have no doubt that the Labour Party is going to do extremely well in this election.

Mr Cluskey does not believe that any party will achieve an overall majority but does believe that Labour will be in a stronger position and is prepared to negotiate.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 June 1981. The reporters are Tom MacSweeney, Michael Ryan and Charlie Bird.

Following the election, a Fine Gael-Labour coalition government was formed.