Minister Richard Bruton has denied that Leo Varadkar's leadership has 'failed' Fine Gael in his first election as party leader.
He told Ivan Yates he is hopeful his party will be the largest single party.
It followed results from an exit poll - which put Fine Gael (22.4%), Sinn Féin (22.3%) and Fianna Fáil (22.2%) all around 22% support.
Mr Bruton said:"Fine Gael, from that exit poll, is certainly in line to hold more seats than many predicted we would hold.
"So we would be certainly holding out the expectation that we could be the largest single party.
"And that obviously has a difference in the context of taking the initiative to form a government
"It is going to be difficult - there's no doubt it will be difficult - but it was difficult the last time".
"I think people will be looking at how does the Dáil work, I think Fianna Fail will reflect badly on how the confidence and supply served their interests."
"I think there will be a lot of hard thinking as to how this sort of a result can deliver."
Asked if "project Leo" had failed in the election, Mr Bruton said: "By no means - I think it was Leo who single-handedly brought us back in the last week".
"I think his performance was very, very strong.
"I think he showed himself very comfortable across his brief.
"Of course, when you're explaining complex policy it is much more difficult than someone's whose just demanding change - confident in the knowledge that no one will look at the small print on the side of the tin".