Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said that he would like to remain as Minister for Foreign Affairs but added he is not in the business of lobbying publicly for himself.

"I've always had a passion for international politics and foreign affairs and it is a brief that I really enjoy," he said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney he said the ministerial briefs would be a matter for the party leaders to decide, adding he would respect those decisions.

Mr Coveney said he believed Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party could be a progressive and exciting government that could provide a lot of hope and optimism at a time when the country needs it.

He said the programme for government is an ambitious one but, by and large, it has been welcomed.

The big challenge over the next 12 months, he said, would be to get close to 300,000-400,000 people back to work.

He said the focus is on "an early win" and putting a stimulus package in place to help those sectors that have been put under massive pressure functioning again.

The Tánaiste said if these plans do not work then it is important to have a strong and stable government in place that can make the appropriate decisions.

He added that no one is suggesting that Ireland moves into a period of austerity and the appropriate course of action is stimulus.

He pointed out that there are countries across the EU that are in the same position.

Things do not go well by themselves, he said, adding that it takes decision making by government and if things do not go well; the government will adjust to that.

Mr Coveney said it is difficult for many Fine Gael members to go into coalition with Fianna Fáil and he said that it would take adjustment and a new mindset but that this was the challenge from the last general election.

He said he had a number of friends, linked to the Green Party, who believe it will be possible to get the programme for government across the line.

He added that it was important in the national interest that politics works right now.

If this programme for government is not endorsed, he said, then we are back to square one "and who knows where that will end up".