The Government is seeking funds from the European Investment Bank for the refurbishment of 2,000 flats around the country.

It is the first time the Government here has sought to borrow capital under the Jessica Programme which is an EU investment fund for urban areas.

Housing Minister of State Jan O'Sullivan made the announcement at a seminar organised by the housing association Clúid.

At the Event Minister O'Sullivan said that 2,000 flats in Dublin, Cork and Limerick were planned for retrofitting under the programme.

It is understood that the planned works include refurbishment of common areas as well as energy upgrades of housing units.

This is in addition to the €50m the Government plans to spend on an energy efficiency programme for 25,000 local authority homes over the next three years.

A report by Clúid said housing associations have a role in regeneration following the collapse of public private partnerships.

It pointed out that unlike the Government or local authorities it can raise private finance without adding to the national debt.