Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he regrets not calling an Easter election as he believes it may have had a better outcome for his Fine Gael party.

The general election in February saw Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin finish in an almost dead heat, and prompted months of negotiations to form a government.

Mr Varadkar, speaking at a virtual event organised by the Washington Ireland Programme, was reflecting on the year 2020 when he made his comments. 

"Had [calling an Easter election] happened, we would have had the election after the pandemic and perhaps it would have gone a bit better for me and my party," he said.

"We may have had a different electoral outcome and in my mind, one that would have been better for the country," he told the event, that was also attended by US senator Chris Murphy and Jen O'Malley Dillon, campaign manager for President-elect Joe Biden.

The Tánaiste said he thought Irish politics was becoming more polarised with social media playing a "big part" in that.

"The wrong end of the stick, an inaccurate story, one side of the story can become accepted fact and truth within hours, because things aren't mediated by the media, they're just put out there on social media," he said.

The Washington Ireland Programme event was organised to launch 2021 applications for the transatlantic internship programme of which Mr Varadkar is part of the alumni.