Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed today he would protect special needs education and create more jobs in schools.
Unveiling his party's education proposals, Mr Martin said they made up the central plank of the manifesto.
If returned to power, Fianna Fail would recruit 2,500 more people into schools and would not cut any more special needs teachers, he pledged.
"Education is another topic on the list of attacks launched by Fine Gael against the record of Fianna Fail in general and me in particular," said Mr Martin.
"They use the existence of problems to deny all progress.
"I welcome this because anyone who examines the record can see that education is an area where our record is completely unmatched."
Defending Fianna Fail's record on education, Mr Martin said there were now more than 20,000 people working with special needs children.
"Special education is a personal priority for me, it is a national priority for my party - and we have the record to prove it," he said.