Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has vowed to get 177,000 long term unemployed back to work by the end of his government’s term in office.

The Fine Gael leader has targeted Ireland’s growing jobs crisis ahead of his cabinet’s return to work in the New Year.

Over half of the 315,000 people currently on the dole are out of work for a year or more and classified as long term unemployed.

Kenny has vowed to target this group for re-employment before his government’s scheduled tenure comes to an end in 2016.

“I hope that by the end of this Government’s period that anybody who’s currently on long-term unemployment will be off long-term unemployment and will either be back in the world of work, or will have involved themselves in up skilling or changes of direction in terms of courses or whatever,” said Kenny.

His government’s initial target according to reports is to create 100,000 extra jobs by 2015. Those who can’t find jobs will be offered training by the state’s new Solas agency which replaces FAS next week.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton will launch a new strategy in January to provide better training, education and work placement courses for the unemployed.

PM Kenny added: “There will be a big focus on these labor activation measures as a result of Minister Burton’s Pathways to Work plan.

“There’s about €1bn spent on this every year. But obviously we want to focus on getting people off the unemployment lists and off the Live Register and into the world of work.”

Jobseekers will be offered places on new training courses under the auspices of the Solas agency – those who refuse to partake will have their dole payments cut or cancelled