Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has told the principals of disadvantaged Primary schools that the government will press ahead with plans to cut hundreds of teaching posts in their schools.

Around 20 Dublin principals of disadvantaged or DEIS schools met the Minister this evening to ask him to reverse cuts they say will be catastrophic for underprivileged children.

Between 15 and 20 Labour and Fine Gael backbenchers also attended the meeting which lasted about an hour.

The measures include the abolition of more than 400 disadvantaged teacher posts the government says belong to programmes that have been superseded.

Disadvantaged schools are also set to lose resource and language teachers over and above what ordinary schools will lose.

At the meeting Ruairi Quinn promised limited alleviation measures for the worst-affected schools.

However school principals said this amounted to being told to go "cap in hand" for help.

The Irish National Teachers' Organisation says many of these teachers will be transferred to schools in better-off areas.

Principals in disadvantaged or DEIS primary schools are furious at budget cuts they say will affect only their pupils and not the better off schools.

The Department of Education says 428 so-called legacy posts in DEIS schools are being abolished in order to ensure fairness in the distribution of resources.

But DEIS schools say these teaching positions are vital if young children in disadvantaged areas are to be given a fair chance.