The country's new leader-in-waiting, Enda Kenny, has launched a fierce attack on the outgoing government for being removed from the people.
The Fine Gael chief, who was elected on the first count in Mayo with 17,472 votes, said politicians should learn a lesson from the annihilation meted out to his rivals at the polls.
Mr Kenny said the Irish people have given a strong verdict on what kind of government they now want, describing his victory as a great day.
"In a national sense - obviously I've been looking at some of the results - this is a great day for the Fine Gael party," Mr Kenny said. "The party set out to achieve two ambitions principally. The first was to be the largest party in the Dail and that's been achieved. The second was to increase our vote and seats and that's also been achieved.
"We won't know the final conclusions, particularly until the Fianna Fail eliminations have taken place, as to where those votes will go because in many cases there isn't a second candidate for them to transfer to. That will have a bearing on a number of seats and it could be critical to the overall outcome.
"The lesson from this general election is that government should never remove themselves from the people. The people have voted with vigour and strength and they have given their answer as to the remove the government placed itself in over the last number of years."
Mr Kenny refused to comment on the make-up of the next government, where Fine Gael is on course to secure 70-plus seats.
Mr Kenny said his first priority was to tell the world that Ireland was now set on a new track under his Fine Gael party, whose focus is to create jobs.
Hundreds who packed out the Castlebar count centre thronged towards the Fine Gael leader as he arrived to a triumphant reception, with shouts of "Taoiseach, Taoiseach" from the crowd.
Mr Kenny received well above the quota required of 12,340, making him the biggest vote-getter in the country. One of his running mates, Michael Ring, was also elected on the first count after securing 13,180 votes.