The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said that creating jobs in central to the Government's agenda.

Minister Howlin said in his Budget speech that he has allocated total capital expenditure for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of just under €0.5 billion in 2013 to drive the jobs and enterprise agenda.

Enterprise Ireland will be given another €139m to support indigenous Irish exporters next year.

This will help support the launch of a new ten year €175m venture capital fund, which will fund new and expanding Irish companies over the medium term.

Mr Howlin said that the Government will also restructure County Enterprise Boards to provide a one-stop-shop through the Local Authority system. These moves will be supported by an investment of €26m next year.

He also said he would provide an additional €11m in 2013 and €26m in a full year to allow the Department of Social Protection to increase by 10,000 the number of placements on the labour market activation schemes offered by the department.

The Minister told the Dáil that he has reached agreement with the Troika that the proceeds of the state asset sales can be used to support investment and structural change in the economy.

Announcing other measures, he said that €17.4m will be provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the development of a new youth detention centre at Oberstown. The building works should create 520 jobs during construction which will house 17 youths when completed.

Opportunities from energy efficiency measures

Measures on energy efficiency were also unveiled by the Minister, who said that Ireland has challenging CO2 and energy savings targets to be meet by 2020.

The Minister said that one of the key measures of the Government's national energy efficiency action plan is the retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve energy savings. It is aiming to upgrading the energy performance of 100,000 houses a year and reduce the energy consumption in the public sector by 33%.

He said that while these are challenging targets, they are also opportunities for the creation of jobs. ''Energy retrofitting is labour intensive and provides job opportunities for our construction sector. We have companies in Ireland who supply much of the material for these works, so jobs will be secured and created in those companies,'' he stated.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said that what the people of Ireland have endured has been tough, almost without precedent in the developed world.

''When I took office last year, I could not be certain that we would make it through this crisis. I no longer hold this fear,'' Brendan Howlin added.

He concluded that while difficult challenges remain ahead of us, ''Ireland and her people will prosper again''.