The Minister for Social Protection has said welfare benefits are in place to make sure people have a basic standard of living, and while she would love to be able to say "we don't need it", the charitable sector will always be here.

Regina Doherty was speaking at a FoodCloud hub in Dublin, from where food is redistributed to charities.

FoodCloud is receiving €8 million in funding from the Government and the EU to buy food to send out to charities.

FoodCloud already uses technology to link up retailers with excess food products to charities for distribution.

It is estimated that one in eight people in Ireland experience food poverty.

"When you are in area where you have very little, these people don't feel embarrassed they feel empowered by Government stepping in and helping them, and if we can find a mechanism of using taxpayers money and European money to make sure people have a better quality of life, I'll never be embarrassed by that," said Ms Doherty.

So far, 130 charities are signed up to receive food from FoodCloud, but there is scope for many more charities to get involved, so that more than 85,000 individuals can be reached.

Ms Doherty said food waste needs to be tackled.

"I know I clean my own fridge on a Sunday and half of it goes in the bin," she said.