Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out resigning after his government suffered a resounding thumping in Ireland's general election.
With the Republic's political future in disarray and several coalition combinations on the table, the Fine Gael leader refused to be drawn on the prospect of a pact with traditional adversaries Fianna Fail.
"It is a position that one never likes to be in but I want to make it clear that I expect that the Fine Gael party will be a large bloc in the next Oireachtas (parliament)," he said.
"From that point of view, my responsibility as Taoiseach is to work to see that our country has a stable government and that has a government that can continue the progress that we have made over the last number of years in bringing the benefits of a recovering economy to all our people."
Mr Kenny, who had a 30-seat majority after the 2011 election, admitted the election result was disappointing.
"Democracy is always exciting but it is merciless when it clicks in," he said.