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Election or no election, the Christmas bonus will still be paid next week

But the Social Protection minister says that other changes to social welfare payments are “in limbo”.

Image: Sasha Drago via Shutterstock

THE CHRISTMAS BONUS will be paid next week as scheduled, the government has confirmed.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty confirmed that the necessary funds were awarded yesterday by an Oireachtas committee, and payments will be automatically paid next week.

“The Christmas bonus will be paid next week regardless of this row that’s going on,” Doherty said, referencing ongoing speculation that an election could be called in the next two months.

“So anybody that’s relying on the Christmas bonus it will be paid next week and the week after.”

But weekly social welfare increases of €5 are on hold, due to interruptions to a debate on the Social Welfare bill yesterday. An increase to some payments, such as the Higher Education Funds and Fuel Allowance increases, were due in January and others were due in March.

But they cannot go ahead while the legislation is on hold, and there’s very little time left between now and the Christmas break.

“That’s in limo at the moment because we started the Social Welfare bill at 11pm last night in Dáil Éireann, we finished at about 11.40pm half way through second stage and so that’s up in the air.”

There will also be a delay to legislation that will reverse fempi measures, which introduced a freeze on payments for public servants such as teachers and nurses.

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The Christmas bonus is worth 85% of a normal weekly social welfare payment, and issued to anyone who’s been in receipt of a social welfare payment for a minimum of 15 months.

So for example, for someone on the maximum Jobseekers Allowance payment of €193 a week, they would be entitled to a Christmas bonus of €164.05.

The Christmas bonus will cost €219 million this year.

Read: The Christmas bonus will be given at the start of December

Read: Leo wants to link dole payments to a person’s PRSI contributions

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