Enda Kenny has said that his schedule means he cannot take part in TV3’s proposed three way leaders' debate on Tuesday.
The Fine Gael leader was responding to questions about the debate and the station’s offer to replace Vincent Browne as moderator.
Mr Kenny said he had an issue with Mr Browne over his comments on suicide but his schedule on Tuesday meant he could not participate.
Meanwhile, with less than three weeks to go to polling day, the political parties continue to outline their election pledges at a series of events around the country today.
Among the issues being highlighted today are jobs, political reform and the proposed abolition of the Health Service Executive.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams launched his party's election campaign with a strong attack on what he called the 'deeply corrupt ruling elite'.
Mr Adams, whose party is running 41 candidates across 38 constituencies, said the other parties had had many years to change the political system but had failed to do so.
The election candidate for Louth urged voters to take a stand, claiming that those who told them that everyone had to take some pain to remedy our economic problems were taking no pain themselves.
Mr Adams said that politicians and others who had failed to effectively regulate the banks were corrupt, but insisted his party intended to fight a positive campaign.
He said his party would reverse budget cuts and abolish the Universal Social Charge.
Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said Ireland did not need money from the EU and IMF.
Mr Doherty said that €30bn is available this year from the National Pension Reserve and the Central Bank Exchequer Fund.
This afternoon, Fine Gael health spokesman James Reilly said there will be 8,000 redundancies under his party's plan to abolish the HSE and replace it with Universal Health Insurance.
Dr Reilly said the Executive will be gone by 2014 or 2015 if Fine Gael leads the next Government, but most of the jobs would go through normal retirement and natural wastage over the next four years.
At a news conference this afternoon, he denied that there would be a lack of accountability under the party's plan - which would see private insurance companies playing a larger role.
Dr Reilly insisted that his proposed Insurance Scrutineer would be accountable to the Minister for Health and the Government.
Elsewhere, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said his party is absolutely committed to supporting the Irish agriculture sector.
He made his comments while visiting a farm in Douglas outside Cork city this morning.
Mr Martin said the sector will be central to restoring economic growth and creating jobs over the next few years.
The Labour Party announced details of its proposals for the establishment of a Strategic Investment Bank.
The bank would channel funds of about €2.8bn from the National Pension Reserve Fund and would focus on projects to enhance infrastructure, boost growth and generate employment in the Irish economy.
It would channel start-up and scale-up finance to the SME sector. Labour says the bank would be fully independent.
As market conditions improve, it is proposed that the bank would develop into a functioning bank, taking deposits and raising long-term financing.
Party leader Eamon Gilmore claimed that the EU-IMF deal was crippling the Irish economy and putting the entire burden on the Irish taxpayer.
Green Party seeks reform of corporate donations
The Green Party has said Fine Gael is fuelling cynicism in politics in not publishing its accounts including the source of funding it is using in its election campaign.
Publishing its proposals to ban corporate donations, the Green party said Fine Gael would spend an estimated €2.25m during the campaign, yet it had not declared any donations for the latest year.
Trevor Sargent said Fine Gael was getting money from vested interests.
The Green Party was outlining proposals that they say will make the funding of politics here more transparent.
They said the largest political parties had put up a wall to hide behind in terms of where they were getting the money from.
Party leader John Gormley said he did not think it was appropriate to be taking huge amounts of money from vested interests because ‘he who paid the piper called the tune.’
Referring to estimates which show that Fine Gael will spend more on this election than any other party, Trevor Sargent said the Galway tent had been replaced by the Castlebar campsite.
He also criticised donations to the Labour Party from Trade Unions. He said this forced some union members to back a party which they did not support.
The Green Party defended the fact that they had not introduced legislation banning corporate donations while in Government.
Mr Sargent said depending on Fianna Fáil to get this through ‘wasn't exactly plain sailing’.
The party wants a ban on corporate donations, more transparency in terms of party accounts, and other measures including the lowering of the threshold for disclosure of political donations, which currently stands at just over €5,000.