Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said his pitch to voters at tomorrow's Fine Gael Ard Fheis will be that it is a tried and tested party in Government, which is able to deal with crises, no matter what challenge comes its way.

Speaking to reporters this evening in Athlone, he said: "It's a party you can trust in difficult times. And a party which can give you the security in difficult times to know that your job, your business, your livelihood will be protected at all costs."

He said he "absolutely" acknowledged and "wouldn't deny it for a second" that the country faces "enormous challenges" in areas such as housing, health and justice.

However, Mr Varadkar said the public would also recognise that there had been "enormous progress" from the mass unemployment and emigration of 12 years ago, when Fine Gael entered Government, to the full employment of today.

He cited a recent United Nations Development Programme report which ranked Ireland in 8th place on a list of the best countries in the world to live in.

Mr Varadkar said: "We aspire, of course, to be number one... but coming in the top ten, of 200 countries, isn't a bad place to be."

Mr Varadkar will take over from Taoiseach Micheál Martin under the terms of the agreement that saw Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens come together to form a government after the last general election in January 2020.

He said he has learned after 12 years in government that you do not know what is going to hit you, referring to the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and a global financial crisis.

With additional reporting from PA