Renua Ireland will field 18 candidates in the upcoming general election, leader Lucinda Creighton has announced at the party’s manifesto launch.

Ms Creighton claimed no party would have a clear-cut majority after the election and the question voters had to ask was "who would be their watchdog in government?".

She insisted that the party’s core principle was to reward work with a flat tax of 23%, with a system of graduated payments to those earning less than €70,000.

Ms Creighton said if a flat rate tax was good enough for corporations, it was good enough for people.

The tax take would be €3.5 billion less than at present but she said that within 12 months it would exceed current levels.

Furthermore, there would be tax cuts for those who had difficulty affording childcare and a commitment to invest €1bn in a network of community crèches.

Motor tax would be abolished and replaced by a fuel levy.

There would also be reform of the local government system and directly elected mayors in every council area.

The party would not be taking a view on the question of liberalising abortion legislation, Ms Creighton said, insisting there are other social issues facing the electorate.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Creighton said the party's aim is to simplify the tax system and reduce the number of tax rates, which she described as anti-competitive, anti-business and anti-jobs.

"We've gone to great lengths in developing this proposal of a flat rate of income tax to ensure that firstly, those on and beneath the minimum wage will be absolutely protected.

"So the various supports that exist, family income supplement, child benefit and so on, would be protected. But really this is about the people who are earning low, middle income salaries, who will benefit substantially" she said.

Ms Creighton said the system the party has proposed means that people are taxed progressively instead of punitively.

She said the abolition of motor tax would remove pressures on gardaí and the courts system.

The party proposed that Irish Water would be reconstituted and Ms Creighton said she was in favour of water metering and against a flat rate.

She called the water conservation grant a "bribe" and said it would be abolished.