The Government is to introduce measures on Monday that will improve rights for consumers who buy or receive gift vouchers.

One of the main measures introduced by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys is that all gift vouchers will have a minimum five-year expiry period.

Also consumers will no longer have to spend the full value of the voucher in one transaction, while retailers cannot refuse the use of two gift vouchers in a single transaction.

Airlines will no longer be able to refuse a voucher if the name on it is different to the name on the passport of the person travelling.

However, some consumers may be disappointed that the practice whereby the balance of an unused voucher reduces year by year is not being outlawed.

The minister said she wanted to introduce the measure, but the Attorney General advised against it.

Minister Humphreys described it as a "good news day" for Irish consumers.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, she said Ireland is the first country in Europe to bring in this legislation, and that this was a "priority" for her upon taking up the role.

She said there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed, which is why it took "some time" to prepare the legislation.

"I did want to make sure that it covered as many different scenarios as possible. I also put it out for public consultation, and that was a very good thing to do because I got some really good suggestions that I have been able to take action on," she said.

Ms Humphreys cited airline vouchers as an example of something that will change under the new rules, explaining that some airlines would not accept vouchers that are presented to someone named 'Liz' if the name on their passport is 'Elizabeth'.

She also said that she was unable to tackle the issue of fees applying to some gift vouchers, such as One-4-All cards, due to the Electronic Money Directive.

She said she attempted to ban those fees but could not "contravene EU law".