Over 20,000 suspected cases of welfare fraud were reported by members of the public last year.

The majority of the cases alleged someone collecting Jobseeker's Allowance while working.

Figures from the Department of Social Protection also show there were 160 cases of social welfare fraud referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecution.

A new publicity campaign aimed at cutting down on social welfare fraud has been launched by the Minister for Social Protection.

Leo Varadkar has said while the vast majority of people receiving welfare payments are entitled to them, nothing upsets people more than someone else cheating the system at their expense.

The new online, print and broadcast campaign encourages members of the public to report suspected cases of welfare fraud.

The minister said anti-fraud measures saved taxpayers over €500m last year.

It is estimated that one in three reports of welfare fraud results in a payments being stopped or reduced.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Mr Varadkar said a number of reports have already been made today, showing that the new campaign is already having an impact.

It was important to note, he said, that employers can also be responsible for fraud and that the campaign is not targeted just at individuals.