Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that his party is targeting a minimum of three seats in the European Parliament elections on 24 May.

He vowed that Fianna Fáil's five candidates would seek to protect core EU values, such as a free media and an independent judiciary across the EU.

Speaking at the launch of Fianna Fáil’s European election manifesto, Mr Martin said he believes these are critical elections for the future of the European Union.

He said that others are seeking to undermine the union and are continuing to spread conspiracy theories about EU militarisation.

And he accused Fine Gael of being soft on the erosion of rights in both Hungary and Poland.

In its election manifesto, Fianna Fáil is proposing to link EU funding to the rule of law in each member state.

It also says that big technology firms need to be regulated in a similar manner to public utilities.

Despite the possibility of the European Parliament election precipitating a plethora of by-elections here in November, the Fianna Fáil leader said there is no immediate threat to the stability of the Government in terms of Dáil numbers.

But Micheál Martin said things must be taken one step at a time - before adding that he loves elections.