Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted he does not intend having to deal with any Independent TDs if forming the next government.

Mr Kenny insisted he did not envisage Fine Gael and Labour needing additional support after the general election.

It follows reports that Independent TD Michael Lowry and other Independents could be involved if Fine Gael needs support.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week he added: "There are no discussions, no connections, no contact with any Independent from the Fine Gael party. I don't envisage having to do any business with any Independent."

When pressed whether he would rule out doing a deal with Independent TD Michael Lowry if he needed his support after the election, the Taoiseach said: " I have no intention of having to do business with any Independent I hope that is clear."

Mr Lowry, who topped the poll in Tipperary North five years ago, previously agreed a deal with the Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition.

Mr Kenny also defended Fine Gael's plan to abolish the Universal Social Charge - if re-elected.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Kenny said getting rid of the USC would put more money in people's pockets - and generate more revenue for public services.

"If we abolish the Universal Social Charge, which was introduced by the Fianna Fáil government as a penal tax, we abolish that over the next five budgets it means that you reduce effectively the rate of personal income tax from 52% to 44%.

"Abolishing USC over five years, it means that if you have a job you are going to have more pay; if you don't have a job you'll be able to get a job," Mr Kenny said.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has again called on Mr Kenny to facilitate a head-to-head debate ahead of the general election.

Mr Martin said: "Rather than engage on the issues and be honest in explaining their plans for the future of public services as they attempt to introduce 'US Style' taxes, Fine Gael instead seem to believe that just attacking Fianna Fáil is a credible alternative to having an actual vision for the country.

"If Enda Kenny wants to dedicate his campaign to attacking Fianna Fáil that is his choice, but if there is any honesty in his position, he should at least agree to meet me directly in head-to-head debate so that voters can make a well informed decision about who is being honest about the future and who has a credible plan for a fairer recovery," he added.