A group representing unemployed people has called on the Government to restore social welfare payments to the unemployed to levels seen before the economic crisis.

At its annual delegate conference, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed Chairperson Ann Fergus said while the number of unemployed people has fallen "the reality is that for those who remain or become unemployed, managing day-to-day is a real challenge"

Ms Fergus also called on the Government to restore the Christmas bonus to 100%.

She said the while the INOU had no role or position on the recent referendum it showed the power of the vote and she called on unemployed people to engage with their politicians and to vote in elections.

Responding, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said falling unemployment numbers show that normal people are beginning to feel the effects of the long talked about recovery.

However she added that some people need support to get into the labour market from long-term unemployment.

Ms Doherty said she wanted to hear the input from the INOU on how to remove barriers to work.