Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said he is very optimistic of a good result in the upcoming election, despite the opinion polls suggesting the party is struggling.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Howlin said the national opinion polls are not reflecting what is happening in the target constituencies they have.

"All the reports I have, and I talk to the canvass teams daily, are very positive."

He said the election is not about a minimum threshold and picking a number and that "x is the magic number" but that it is about relevance. 

"I am a seasoned negotiator and it is about if we can shape a political agenda," he said.

Mr Howlin said he is not interested in anything else. 

He said there are five key areas that his party is focused on and ultimately he said it is about wanting "to end the waste of public money". 

He reflected on Labour's previous tenure in government when "the country was in economic collapse."

"The biggest issue was getting people back to work. We halved the number of those who were unemployed. It was a hard task," he said.

He also acknowledged the party had made promises "they could not deliver". 

He said he is, however, proud of his time in government as he had a national task to do. 

"I want to be forward looking now."

He said people want to see that there is a divdend for that suffering that they went through. He said he finds this election "frustrating" describing "auction politics" at play. 

Mr Howling said he does not see much difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil but added that Fine Gael's policies are more reckless than Fianna Fáil's. 

"There is a great arrogance in Fine Gael," he said.

Mr Howlin said Labour's plan to maintain a broad tax base makes sense in case there is a sudden change or shock and corporation tax fails, or "there is a disaster at the end of this year with Brexit". 

Work practices also have to change according to the Labour leader. 

He also thinks more GPs need to be trained and incentivised to stay in Ireland, which requires a very "frank discussion with them". 

He also defended the party's plan to deliver 80,000 social and affordable housing units. He said he is going to do his best to maximise Labour votes.