Micheal Martin has accused Leo Varadkar of failing to intervene in crisis after crisis in the health service as their war of words became increasingly bitter.
Mr Varadkar criticised his Fianna Fail rival’s record when he was health minister from 2000-2004.
But Mr Martin said the current cabinet member failed to adequately fund hospitals.
He said: “I reject his assertions this morning. I would respectfully say to Leo to have a reflection on his own performance over the last two years as minister for health, when waiting lists have escalated, when you have hospital reports like the maternity report on hygiene, where was he?
“He has adopted the strategy of being a detached commentator on crisis after crisis in health and has presided over inadequate and insufficient budgets for hospitals.
“It would be far better for him to reflect on his time in health than trying to attack somebody who made significant gains in a whole range of fronts in our health services between 2000 and 2004, many of which including the smoking ban continue on to the present day.”
On RTE’s Morning Ireland on Wednesday Mr Varadkar said Mr Martin had “created a whole fairytale” about his own period as minister for health.