Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's speech to the Fine Gael national conference in Wexford this evening bore all the hallmarks of one delivered close to a general election.

It took hefty swipes at political opponents and set out a vision that encompassed: the economy, society, the country and the environment.

It is a vision that would fit neatly into any election manifesto.

There were specifics too about tax cuts and did we hear the tentative outline of a new alternative slogan? It claimed Fine Gael was the only party "tried, tested and trusted" to keep the economy strong.

Add to that the pledge about future Government formation and the Taoiseach categorically stating that there were no circumstances in which Fine Gael would share power with Sinn Féin.

And there was an acceptance of responsibility for the rising cost of the National Children's Hospital coupled with a promise that lessons have been learned.

Yes the Taoiseach stated the incontestable fact that an election has to take place between now and 2021.

However, it is fair to assume that most of those listening felt he was talking about something likely to happen long before then.

But the initial steps of the path that will provide a route through the Brexit uncertainty have to be found first.