The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin has announced the Government’s spending plans for 2016.
The Christmas bonus for those in receipt of social welfare is to be increased to 75% from 50% last year.
All pension payments to go up €3 a week from January 1.
The Respite Care Grant will be restored to its original level of €1,700.
There’s to be an increase in the fuel allowance of €2.50 to €22.50
Free GP care is being extended to all children under the age of 12
From January 1st 2016, the minimum wage is to increase by 50c, from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour.
Children will now be eligible for free childcare from three years of age, up until they are five and a half, or until they start primary school.
There’s to be an increase in child benefit of €5 up to €140 per month.
Legislation is to be introduced for statutory paternity leave of two weeks – from September 2016.
There’s an allocation for 2,260 new teaching posts including in special needs.
Pupil-teacher ratio is to be reduced at both primary and secondary level.
Government funding of €940 million for Fair Deal nursing home scheme in 2016, with approval for applicants under the scheme to be processed within 4 weeks
There’s funding to recruit 600 new gardaí.
€500m is being provided for new social housing
There is also a package of measures in farming worth €1.3 billion.