The Government will today launch a strategy to ensure more Irish people take up jobs within the European Union, due to concerns that Ireland is becoming significantly under-represented at official level.

It will include €4m in funding over the next few years to boost the number of Irish staff.

This will fund more scholarships for Irish students at the College of Europe in Bruges, seen as the gateway to a career in the EU, and will support extra civil servants being seconded to EU institutions.

There will be a new stream of officials within the civil service who will specialise in European affairs.

The Government also wants to boost the number of language graduates.

The view is that it is in the State's - and indeed in the EU's interests - for Ireland to be well represented, especially in the European Commission, not least because, post-Brexit the demand for native English speakers at all levels of the EU will start to rise.

Ireland and Denmark have the lowest number of nationals per capita working in EU institutions, and a large cohort of Irish staff are due to retire in the coming years.

Since 2015 only 22 Irish people have successfully managed to take up senior and permanent positions within EU institutions.However, 64 senior Irish officials are expected to retire within the next five years.

Since accession in 1973 many Irish people have risen to very high-ranking positions within EU institutions, but that generation is now retiring or retired, which is a serious concern for the Government.

Officials say many Irish graduates lack language skills, and the entrance competition, is regarded as a challenging hurdle.