The Government have announced a new series of measures to combat the cost-of-living crisis, including an extra payment for families but not in electricity.
Many of the measures aim to target struggling young families, carers, and elderly people.
In a targeted set of measures that will likely be the final intervention until Budget 2023 in autumn, the Government will pay a lump-sum child benefit payment of €100 per child in June, while all long-term social welfare recipients will receive a €200 lump-sum in April.
In July, there will be a one-off increase of €100 in the back-to-school allowance, and the State Examination fees for students sitting the Junior and Leaving certificate this year will be waived.
The Hot School Meals programme will be extended to all Deis primary schools from September, benefiting 64,500 children.
Reduced charges will apply to school transport, amounting to €50 per pupil at primary level and €75 per pupil at post-primary level, with a cap per family of €125.
A phased restoration of the rates of excise on petrol, diesel and marked gas oil will take place in three stages over the coming eight months.
This will see rates restored on June 1st by 6 cent per litre of petrol, 5 cent per litre of diesel and 1 cent per litre of marked gas oil.
On September 1st, these rates will increase by a further 7 cent for petrol, 5 cent diesel, 1 cent for marked gas.
The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme will be extended to May 31st, 2023, and enhanced.
The Government confirmed the threshold to qualify for the support will reduce from a 50 per cent increase in electricity or gas costs to a 30 per cent increase, to apply retrospectively from September 1st, 2022.
From March 1st, the level of relief will increase from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of eligible costs, subject to a monthly limit, which will also be increased from March, to €15,000 per month per trade or profession, subject to an overall cap of €45,000 where the business is carried on from more than one location.
The cost of the supports will be met from the allocation provided for in Budget 2023, but must first be cleared by the European Commission.
Speaking after the announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted the decisions were based on helping the most vulnerable in society.
"We know the cost of living remains very high and that people are under pressure.
"This package is about helping families who are struggling with the cost of living, helping businesses with their energy costs, and helping those on fixed incomes like pensioners and people on social welfare including carers and people with disabilities."
While the new supports have been welcomes, charity Saint Vincent De Paul said they will not do enough stop people falling into poverty.
The charity's head of social justice and police Dr Tricia Keilthy said: "There is no doubt the extra payments will bring temporary relief to many households, but we have been clear that Government can no longer rely on short term responses to what are longer term problems.
"The 20 per cent increase in calls for help which we experienced last year, and which have increased again since the beginning of this year shows the extent of long-term issues that needs to be addressed.
"As we have said repeatedly over the longer term the basic rate of social welfare should match a Minimum Essential Standard of Living. This would be a floor, under which no one would be expected to live and where everyone could afford the essentials to live and participate in Irish society."
These concerns were also repeated by another charity in ALONE, who help elderly people at home.
The charity also saw an increase of 63% in cases of older people where their highest area of need was classed as Financial and Legal affairs between the first half of 2022
Seán Moyniahn, CEO of Alone, welcomed the additional measures, but called for more long term solutions to help those struggling.
“We welcome the measures announced by government today as they will go towards to alleviating the pressure faced by older people as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
"It is particularly important at this time as the cost of living is continuing to rise, that those on fixed incomes such as the State Pension are supported. We know that older people who are living on their own are struggling particularly badly as they continue to have to heat and run homes alone and on a fixed income.
“Over the winter months, we heard of many stories from older people who were struggling to meet energy bills and whose income was not stretching as far as they needed it to.
"Although we are pleased that there has been an extension to certain cost of living measures in the latest government announcement, we must also examine the need for more systemic and long-term changes to avoid older people living in poverty during their retirement.
"As the population is on course to have around 1 million people aged over-65 by 2031, commitments made such as benchmarking the State Pension must be delivered."