The Government has launched a plan to facilitate the creation of 20,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2016.

Under the plan launched by Ministers Richard Bruton and Ruairi Quinn, fledgling manufacturing companies will get to apply for support from a specific start-up fund.

There will also be a support fund for capital investment by manufacturing companies and additional financial support for research and development in engineering firms.

The plan also contains proposals to maintain or reduce company costs for energy, waste, regulation and tax.

It will be implemented and monitored as part of the Action Plan for Jobs process.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said that despite a substantial decline over the past ten years, manufacturing remains a crucial sector for the economy as it employs over 200,000 people directly and a similar number indirectly.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn said that in order to maximise opportunities for growth and attracting investment, we need to ensure that people are offered opportunities to upskill and reskill in order to have the relevant, quality skills needed to avail of current and future job opportunities in the manufacturing sector.