Róisín Shortall has said that she does not think a coalition of left-wing parties is likely after this election.

The Social Democrats' co-leader said that she does not expect like-minded parties to have the numbers to form a government in the 33rd Dáil.

However, she said the outgoing Dáil had shown that cooperation between left-leaning parties was possible and she hoped such a partnership would develop in the coming years.

Ms Shortall said failing to build this kind of a coalition would leave the country with civil war politics forever.

She made the comments at the launch of the Social Democrats' policy document on children and parents.

The party is promising what it calls a 'New Deal' for those raising children, with child and parent-friendly measures sitting at the heart of government policy.

This includes extending paid parental leave and encouraging greater flexibility for workers.

The Social Democrats also wants to improve public services for parents and children and give more towards the cost of raising children.

Meanwhile, the party has set out an ambitious goal of ending child poverty in Ireland during the lifetime of the next government.

Ms Shortall said many of the policies were already included under the costings of its Sláintecare policy and rejected the suggestion that the pledges were an example of 'auction politics'.

She said that changes in technology and society made flexible working arrangements - such as working from home and the four day week - more feasible, and making this a statutory right would ultimately be of benefit to employers as well as parents.

Ms Shortall did not rule out working with any party following the election and said it would be "arrogant" to do so before the public had voted.