The Republic of Ireland has begun voting in a general election, with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar hoping to secure a new term on the back of Brexit but voters likely to judge him more on his domestic record.

Polls opened across the country at 07:00 GMT on Saturday, with a small number of islands off the west coast voting on Friday to allow for rough seas that could disrupt the transport of ballots by boat.

Some 3.3 million people are eligible to vote to elect 159 members of the Dail, the lower chamber of Parliament in Dublin.

Varadkar's Fine Gael party has been in power since 2016 but polling suggests it is trailing centre-right rivals Fianna Fail and republicans Sinn Fein.

On Monday, Sinn Fein - which had been the political wing of the IRA paramilitary group - was leading with 25 percent, with Fianna Fail at 23 percent and Fine Gael at 20 percent.

Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from Dublin.

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