The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has announced a €3 per week increase in pension payments. It is the first increase since 2009.

Minister Brendan Howlin has said that the increase applies to those aged 66 and over.

The widows' contributory pension will not increase for those under that age and the invalidity pension will also not increase.

The Occupational Injuries Benefit - Death Benefit Pension will not increase for those aged under 66, nor will the Occupational Injuries Benefit - Disablement Pension.

In total, €19.6 billion would be allocated to the Department of Social Protection in 2016, Brendan Howlin said.

The respite care grant will also be restored to €1,700.

Labour Party Spokesperson on Social Protection and Children Marie Moloney has welcomed the restoration of the Respite Care Grant to 86,000 carers. 

"I worked closely with the Carers Association on this and it is very important to them to have this critical payment restored,” Ms Moloney said.

“They do a very difficult job and this payment means they can have some time out of their caring roles, to rest and recover.  I warmly welcome its restoration."  

"We need to build a decent and fair society and look after vulnerable groups. This progressive budget will help us along this path," she said.

The fuel allowance is to be increased to €22.50 from €20 per week.

The threshold for qualification for the Family Income Supplement is also to be increased by €5 per week for families with one child and by €10 for families with two or more children.

The Christmas Bonus for social welfare recipients is also being increased to 75% of where it was before it was abolished.

The Minister told the Dáil that €500 million would be allocated in 2016 to support the various agencies that support job creation.