Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has announced the first phase of the Government's National Digital Strategy.

The strategy is designed to help small Irish businesses to expand their operations online.

It also aims to improve computer skills among young people and help older people to engage more with digital technology.

Mr Rabbitte said the strategy would provide financing for small companies to help improve their online trading presence.

He said it would also spearhead digital education programmes for the youngest citizens and elderly people who had not used the internet before.

The strategy was launched at the ''Doing More with Digital'' event in Trinity College Dublin this morning.