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The key areas of investment chosen for the ESF in Ireland revolve around activation of the unemployed, social and labour market inclusion, education and training and youth employment. 

ESF grants are not available directly from the Department of Education & Skills. The ESF supports a range of courses, schemes and projects across the country but this assistance is channelled through a number of Government Departments and Agencies, which were selected following a comprehensive consultation exercise. These Bodies include: the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Rural and Community Development, SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Defence.

Funding from the ESF may mean new courses provided, additional places on courses, no fees or assistance provided for students or trainees. Details of the schemes supported through the ESF can be found here.