An additional 1,700 teacher and SNA posts will be created to cater for additional pupil numbers in primary and post primary schools.

Today's announcement in Budget 2015 means that current pupil teacher ratios should be maintained.

The primary school-going population is growing by about 10,000 pupils every year, while second-level is growing by about 4,000 students per annum.

Overall, education spending will be roughly equivalent to last year at €8.8 billion.

As part of measures announced several years ago, student fees will increase by €250 to €3,000. This is a saving of €17 million for the State.

General funding for schools, known as capitation, will be reduced by 1%.

Third-level funding is to be reduced by the same amount.

€25 million withheld from the third-level sector for the past two years is to be restored.

€530 million has been allocated to capital projects, mainly new school buildings to cater again for growing pupil numbers. That is a €10 million reduction on last year's figure.

The INTO primary teachers' union has said the additional teaching posts announced today, while welcome, will not reduce overcrowding in Irish classrooms.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland said the Budget leaves the public education system treading water, despite the positive spin.

It said the increase in teacher numbers announced must be put in the context of an increasing school-going population. 

The union said it estimates that 3,700 additional full-time teachers will be needed at second-level over the next ten years just to maintain the current teacher-pupil ratio.

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland also said the announcement of additional teachers will do nothing to prevent the ongoing damage to second-level schools and education by years of cuts.

ASTI President Philip Irwin said that although Budget 2015 contains no new education cuts, there is no increase in the average amount spent on each student.

He also said that previously announced cuts, including the reduced funding to school, will be implemented again next year.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) welcomed a number of measures, including the additional 470 post-primary teachers, but called on the Government to restore middle management and posts of responsibility, which were cut during the recession.

In a statement, the Union of Students in Ireland welcomed many aspects of the Budget, including the decision not to cut the student maintenance grant.

However, it said less positive was the decision to stick by pre-planned increases in the student contribution fee.