The Government was today tight-lipped on whether the traditional Christmas bonus for social-welfare recipients will be paid this year.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore raised the issue in the Dail but Tanaiste Mary Coughlan didn’t reply.
Some 1.3 million social welfare recipients get the Christmas bonus, or double payment, in the first week of December.
Deputy leader Joan Burton also asked in the Dáil: “When will the Christmas bonus be paid to the pensioners? It isn’t guaranteed in legislation. Will provision be made in the Social Welfare Bill for the payment of the bonus?”
More than a dozen supports are included in the bonus scheme including the state pension, carers’ allowance, farm assistance, widows’ pension, and jobseekers’ allowance.
Labour’s Roisin Shortall called on Social and Family Affairs Minister Mary Hanafin to provide clarity on the issue.
“On two days in succession, Labour asked the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, in the Dáil, whether Christmas welfare payments were to be paid as normal, or whether they were to subject to a cutback,” she said.
“Ominously, on both occasions the Tánaiste failed to avail of the opportunity to clarify this matter.
“For the sake of welfare recipients, for whom Christmas is a particularly difficult and stressful time, Minister Hanafin must clear this matter up once and for all.”