Burton sets aside €50m for 'one-off essentials'
Nearly €50m will be spent on once-off payments in exceptional circumstances by the Department of Social Protection this year.
The payments are made to cover clothes, religious ceremonies and equipment for babies.
Last year, more than 65,000 payments were made:
• 43,500 got average payments of €150 for adult or child clothes.
• 12,500 got average payments of €120 for religious ceremonies.
• 9,500 got average payments of €183 for a pram, buggy or cot.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said €47m is available this year to community welfare officers for single exceptional-needs payments to meet "essential, once-off and unforeseen expenditure".
Meanwhile, Ms Burton again kicked to touch on the reforms to child benefit.
Last month, the minister finally published a report on the reform of the system.
But she said this report would now have to be examined by an Oireachtas committee.