European Social Fund

Ireland EU Structural FundsEU_ESF_logo_2014_2020_en_jpg

The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the ESF with a special allocation from the Youth Employment Initiative. 

Who we are

The role of European Social Fund (ESF) Policy and Operations Unit is to oversee all matters relating to the ESF in Ireland and to represent Ireland's position at European level. Specifically, it is responsible for the programme development, the on-going monitoring and implementation of programmes and the sound and efficient financial management of all European Social Fund activity in Ireland.

The Fund is delivered via the Programme for Employability, Inclusion & Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020, which is the successor to the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) 2007-2013 and is the only ESF Programme in Ireland for that period.

In line with the investment priorities set out in the ESF Regulation, the key areas chosen for the ESF in Ireland revolve around activation of the unemployed, social and labour market inclusion, education and youth employment. The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning has a total budget of €1.157 billion. The ESF will contribute €544.5 million, the EU Youth Employment Initiative budget will contribute €68.145 million and the Exchequer will contribute €544.5 million.

What we do

The ESF Policy and Operations Unit is responsible for the efficient management and implementation of the programme, which constitutes 20 plus activities implemented by a number of Government Departments and Agencies. While the ESF Policy and Operations Unit has overall responsibility for administering the Fund, individual funding decisions are made at the Intermediate Body level and below.

The ESF Policy & Operations Unit is divided into two distinct units: the ESF Managing Authority and the ESF Certifying Authority.

Role of the Managing Authority

  • Responsible for ensuring the proper financial management of the ESF within the programmes;
  • Direct responsibility for certifying and/or validating ESF Expenditure claims and forwarding them to the ESF Certifying Authority for payment;
  • Responsible for satisfying itself that the requisite verification checks are being undertaken;
  • Provide administrative support for the Monitoring Committee of the Operational Programme;
  • Draw up and, after approval by the Monitoring Committee, submit to the European Commission annual and final implementation reports on the Programme activity.

Role of Certifying Authority

  • Drawing up and submitting payment applications to the European Commission, and certifying that they result from reliable accounting systems and are based on verifiable supporting documents;
  • Drawing up the accounts in accordance with the Financial Regulation 966/2012;
  • Taking account when drawing up and submitting payment applications of the results of all audits carried out by, or under the responsibility of, the audit authority;
  • Ensuring the existence of a computerised system and maintaining said computerised system that records and stores the accounting records of each operation in support of the submission of payment applications.

The Programme for Employability Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 document is available to view on the website along with FAQs and other information relevant to the ESF as it operates in Ireland.


Address:Department of Education and Skills, European Social Fund, Floor 3, Block 1, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1. D01 RC96

Phone: (01) 889 2003