Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe has defended his record as Minister for Finance saying "more needs to be done" but that his prudent management of public finances had ensured that "the foundations for that change are safe."
Speaking on RTÉ's Saturday with Cormac Ó hEadhra, Mr Donohoe said that under his leadership 180,000 jobs had been created and the national debt had been reduced and changed into a significant surplus.

Mr Donohoe said he accepted responsibility for what went wrong with the costs of building the National Children's Hospital and that he understands public anger about the issue.

But he urged people to look at his other achievements in building roads and social projects that were delivered on time and on budget.

He said the €11 billion spending plans announced in January are the same as those announced in October's Budget, allowing for a revised growth forecast for 2020.

He said Sinn Féin's manifest proposals "would scorch our economy" and described Fianna Fáil's SSIA-like savings scheme as a damaging proposal.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said he is very disappointed that Mr Donohoe called his party "spineless", saying that his party "stood up to the mark and provided stability" to the Government. 

Mr McGrath said his party is the only one offering "real change" in this election.

He acknowledged the mistakes made in the past by Fianna Fáil, but said the party had provided more public housing in the country historically than any other party . 

He described himself as "a safe pair of hands...[with the] appropriate qualifications to be minister for finance."

Speaking on the same programme, Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said his party "stands up for families" and is committed to providing 100,000 houses - 30,000 of which will be for under €250,000. 

He defended the party's spending manifesto and said that it would pay for it by measures including taxing banks and "vulture funds" as well using the forthcoming "NAMA €4bn windfall" to invest in council houses and affordable houses.

Mr Doherty said he has a strong track record of supporting businesses, legislating for  families to access the Financial Services Ombudsman and tackling "insurance rip-offs."

Martin says there is not enough focus on special needs education

Micheál Martin has said there has not been enough focus on special needs education during the General Election campaign.

Speaking to RTÉ News in Cork, he said people are concerned about the time it is taking for children with special needs to access therapies.

Mr Martin said it should not taking years for children to be basic access speech and language, physio and occupational therapies.

He said the issues have not been given the degree of prominence it should have, adding that teachers are concerned and parents have to jump numerous hurdles to get access to therapy.

Mr Martin said more therapists are needed and should be employed through education, to work with teachers.

He said Fianna Fáil would not be afraid to introduce a minimum waiting time to ensure children are assessed in a timely manner.

Additional reporting Fran McNulty