Minister Brendan Howlin today announced the restoration of the Respite Care Grant to its full value of €1,700 as part of an allocation of €19.6bn to the Department of Social Protection in 2016.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Howlin said he was particularly anxious to protect and support older citizens.

All pensions are to be increased by €3 per week in 2016 - this is the first increase since 2009.

The fuel allowance is being increased by €2.50 per week to €22.50.

There will be an increase on the threshold for the Family Income Supplement by €5 per week for families with one child and by €10 per week for families with two or more children.

This year will see an increase in the Christmas bonus for all social welfare recipients to 75% - a threefold increase on last year’s payment.

The aim of the Government is to "ensure recovery is felt in every home and community across the land", according to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. 

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