The Government has announced plans to allow small and medium-sized businesses to apply to the Circuit Court for examinership.

According to the Department of Justice, costs in the Circuit Court are on average 30% lower than in the High Court, depending on the complexity of the case.

The Government said the bill will now be drafted on a priority basis and it set a target date for enactment of the Bill by the end of the year.

The measure is part of the Government's Action Plan for Jobs.

It is aimed at reducing the costs associated with an application for examinership and enabling increased numbers of businesses - in particular SMEs - to apply for examinership as a route out of difficulties.

Businesses with large potential for growth and job creation, but who are being held back by legacy debt problems, are expected to benefit from the move.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said today's announcement will mean that is will be cheaper and easier for businesses to restructure their debts, meaning that more companies will be able to do so.

"This will mean that more businesses can survive their current difficulties and start to grow, meaning crucially that more jobs will be saved and more jobs will be created in this hugely important part of the economy," he said.