The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, has said he is putting €63m - over and above funds already allocated through the jobs initiative - into disadvantaged areas with high structural unemployment to help with education and training.

Mr Hogan is also trying to secure further funding through the European Union for rural development and RAPID programmes.

Addressing a conference on unemployment at Dublin Castle, he praised local development programmes operated through the community and voluntary sector around the country.

Asked whether he believed the Troika could be persuaded to permit the proceeds of selling State assets to be used for job creation rather than paying down debt, he said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was interfacing with the Troika and he expected they would make progress on that issue.