SINN Fein president Gerry Adams has ruled out a coalition with any other major political party and launched a withering attack on Labour, branding it 'pointless'.
The Louth TD accused Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's party of being as conservative as their coalition colleagues.
In an interview with the Press Association, Mr Adams also set out that Sinn Fein was aiming to take Dail seats in western counties at the next election.
"I don't even see the point of the Labour Party," he said.
"They should have known by now they are not cutting the rough edge - if that ever was their intention. Their leadership is just as conservative as Fine Gael's."
Mr Adams said that he believed people have had enough of austerity and broken promises, and that as support for flagging junior coalition partner Labour wanes, Sinn Fein grows stronger.
Mr Adams insisted his party would not sell out on its core values and would only consider forming a political allegiance with those with shared objectives.
"If you can get the issue where everybody can see the sense, then you can find common cause," he said.
"But if you're asking me do I envisage us as we sit here today going into coalition with these parties, like Fianna Fail or Labour, no I don't."
Latest odds from bookmaker Paddy Power named Sinn Fein the fourth favourite to form the next government, giving it a 12/1 shot at entering a coalition with Fianna Fail.
Mr Adams said while there were clearly votes from disillusioned Labour supporters to be had, Sinn Fein would target voters of all shades.
But he added that the party would not rush into government.
"The only point of being in government is if you can use your term in government to advance the objectives that you have, and to advance the lives and conditions of the people that you want to work for," he said.
"There is no point in going in without being very very clear about that, because what will happen is we will just be sucked up by the senior party and we will be spat out by the electorate at the first opportunity."
Current odds are on senior coalition partner Fine Gael to remain in power following the next general election in three years' time.
But bookies expect Labour to be booted out of the partnership and replaced by a resurgent Fianna Fail.
"We can only wait until after the election, until after the votes are counted up," Mr Adams said.
"You set out your stall. You seek the biggest mandate you can get for it. You then look to see if you can form a configuration based upon principles with the other parties.
"If you can't, you don't. It's not a matter of rushing into government. It's a matter of getting into government to bring about maximum change."