The proposal to which the Deputy refers is for a Youth Entrepreneurship Fund to be administered by Enterprise Ireland. Any decisions on this would be a matter for that agency and the Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation. My Department supports entrepreneurship on the part of unemployed people, who have been on certain welfare payments for more than 12 months, through the Back to Work Enterprise allowance. Participants on BTWEA, who set up in self-employment, receive a standard weekly rate of payment, equivalent of the rate of their prior Social Welfare payment, for one year, reducing to 75% in year two. At the end of 2012, there were 10,810 people receiving support under BTWEA, of whom 312 were aged under 25 years.
The Youth Employment Initiative (which has been included in the Multi-annual Financial Framework for the EU agreed recently by the European Council) will provide €6 billion for youth employment measures across the 27 Member States over the seven-year period 2014-2020). EU-wide decisions still remain to be made on the allocation of funding from the Initiative across Member states, and on the range of measures that will be eligible for funding. Details of these decisions will emerge over the next few months.