The Taoiseach has said he hopes to meet the Fianna Fáil leader later this week to discuss when a general election should be held.

Leo Varadkar said he reflected on the timing of the election over the Christmas holidays.

However, he said that his focus for today was on other issues, including the situation in hospitals, developments in Northern Ireland and the search for a missing fisherman in the southeast.

Mr Varadkar wrote to Micheál Martin just before Christmas setting out a number of issues that he wants resolved before agreeing to an election date.

They include reforms of the Local Property Tax, concluding investigations into voting and fobbing-in at the Oireachtas, and developing a new system for Dáil expenses.

In the letter, the Taoiseach called for his Fianna Fáil counterpart to "agree to vote with the Government where necessary rather than abstain".

Mr Varadkar today dismissed suggestions that the demands he had set down were too high.

"He set out his position in his letter and I set out my position in mine, which I sent just before Christmas.

"The next step is for us to meet and discuss it and it's intended that that will happen later this week," he said.