The Minister for Social Protection has dismissed a media report that the annual Christmas bonus will not be paid to people on social welfare this year as a "fake news headline".

Regina Doherty has said she wanted to "put at ease the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people" who may have been worried.

The Minister, who is before the Oireachtas Committee on Employement Affairs and Social Protection, said this afternoon said she had absolutely "no intention of discontinuing the Christmas bonus for any social welfare recipient".

She said it was disingenuous of anybody trying to "grab a cheap headline at the expense of people who have no other income other than their weekly fixed income".

"I can guarantee you, whoever did it, has never had to live on a fixed income in their life," she concluded. 

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Last year’s Christmas bonus saw each recipient given an extra sum worth 85% of their usual payment.

Payments totalling €219 million were made to pensioners, as well as people with disabilities, carers, lone parents, and long-term unemployed people.