Joan Burton has claimed Labour will have a “high level” of representation in the next Dail.
The Tanaiste insisted she is not contemplating the junior Coalition party becoming extinct after the next General Election.
She said people will be “fair” to Labour when they go to the polls in April 2016.
Ms Burton added: “Before the next election people will be looking at what are the parties that will really look after their interest and actually provide for full employment, investment in terms of a social dividend into schools and hospitals into the infrastructure of the country in a way that will actually promote the well-being and the prosperity of every individual and every family in the country.
“I think in that reckoning people will look at the work that the Labour Party has done in Government and I expect them to be fair in that.
“So I want to be the leader who will actually return the Labour Party to Government and that’s how we will approach the people when we come to the election.”
The polls say the Labour Party are at 6% and TDs are preparing for a bloodbath.
The local and European elections highlighted the anger at the party run by Ms Burton and previously by Eamon Gilmore. She insisted Labour will not pull the plug early and the Government will run its full term.
Ms Burton added she will not go into coalition with Sinn Fein after the next election.
She said: “I find it difficult to see where we would find a common platform on an economic programme.
“I think that economic populism, obviously, is very attractive, It brings to mind comparisons between Sinn Fein and a kind of old Fianna Fail, that there’s a kind of a ‘one for everyone in the audience’ mentality. So I find it difficult to envisage the Labour Party being part of an utterly populist platform which would simply offer free take-outs for everybody with no sense then of how to deal with the consequences.”
The Labour leader admitted it will take some time to rebuild the battered party.
She said: “I think it’s very much dependent on people feeling they themselves are moving to a better place in terms of work in particular.”
Surely she jests, The people are so easily fooled