Minister for State Patrick O'Donovan has defended the Government's plan to make a €1,000 bonus payment to frontline healthcare workers.

The bonus - and an additional public holiday - were announced earlier this week.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the scheme will be rolled out as soon as possible.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr O'Donovan rejected suggestions from the Opposition that the announcement had been badly handled and added "it is not fair to say it has been botched."

He said a panel would be set up to decide who will get the payment and the bonus would be paid in March and April.

Minister O'Donovan said the payment would target frontline workers.

Sinn Féin's Finance Spokesman Pearse Doherty said it was a "mistake" to exclude family carers from the scheme.

Speaking on the same programme, he said his party recognise that the payment needs to be limited, but said it should be extended to carers who receive the family carers allowance.

"Many of the supports they depended on - the likes of respite, the likes of day centres - were closed down to those family carers during the period," he said.

The Donegal TD added that there is "ambiguity" as relation to who will receive the payment.

Labour's Ivana Bacik said that who gets the payment should have been "sorted out" before it was announced on last Wednesday.

She said the Government should have been "more inclusive" when drawing up the criteria.