The Department of Social Protection has set a target of €710 million in savings to be made through anti-fraud measures this year.

The announcement came after figures showed that €669m in savings were achieved in 2012.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said a strong message had to be sent out that social welfare payments were for only those who were entitled to them.

She said more serious cases were being pursued through the courts.

Welfare recipients making fraudulent claims were taking money from those who needed it most, she said.

"People taking money improperly from social welfare are taking it from people who may have a disability and they're taking it from people who are pensioners and who need the money in their retirement."

Ms Burton said the problem of fraudulent claims was on the rise, but the department was working to tackle it.

She said: "We have people, for instance, taking multiple identities and making different claims in different parts of the country.

"We have Irish people who go to live abroad, but continue to claim social welfare.

"Essentially we are modernising our IT system to ensure we concentrate on the areas where there's most risk of fraud."