I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 121 together.
Securing EU Council approval for an EU wide Youth Guarantee was one of the priorities of the Irish Presidency and I am pleased to say that current approval was secured during my chairmanship of the Council of European Employment and Social Welfare Ministers (EPSCO). I am determined that the Youth Guarantee be implemented as quickly and effectively as possible and will this week lead discussions at EPSCO designed to ensure that each country develops a robust implementation plan and that the provision of EU funding is front loaded over the next two years.
In leading these discussions, I am particularly conscious that the scale of the provision required to deliver the Youth Guarantee in Ireland is likely to be large relative to current provision, and the costs involved are therefore likely to be substantial. Issues will therefore arise as to how a guarantee is to be financed and over what period, given the fiscal constraints currently facing the country.
I am also conscious that if the Youth Guarantee is to be delivered in an effective manner, it will also be important to take the time to learn the lessons from the initial rollout of the Youth Guarantee Scheme (YGS). It is hoped for example, that there will be early lessons from the Ballymun Project that will guide the nationwide rollout of the YGS.
An implementation plan is due to be finalised by the end of the year, and this will set out a timescale for implementation. In the meantime, the Ballymun Pilot if approved by the EU council is expected to start in October.