Those who get social welfare payments will be given a double payment this week.
The bonus will be paid mainly to the elderly, the long-term unemployed, the blind, widows, orphans, single mothers, deserted wives, the disabled and others who rely on social welfare payments for financial support.
The traditional pre-Christmas bonus has caused controversy in the past when it was cut back. But it has survived the axe that is being wielded on public spending this year.
It was a full two weeks’ benefit for the first five years after it was first introduced in 1980 to give a seasonal boost to the needy.
But it was cut to 70 percent and then 65 percent in the 1990s and the government came under attack for being mean-spirited.
It was restored as a full 100 percent bonus in 2000.
Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Coughlan said it would benefit about 792,000 people and their 413,000 dependants.
The bonus will cost an estimated euro 103.3 million and will also go to some people on FAS, VTOS, job initiative and community employment programs.
“December is a difficult time for many people, none more so than the people who are depending on long-term welfare,” the minister said.