With the economy on the verge of a deep recession and the prospect of a global economic slowdown, remittances are now a major issue for many people in Ireland.
The average Irish family now receives €1,000 per month from the State for each of their five members to send home.
This figure is estimated to have grown by €4bn to reach €9.6bn last year.
However, the average amount sent home by Irish citizens has been significantly reduced over the past five years.
In 2013, the Irish Government’s National Accounts for the period, which was published in April 2016, reported that there were €7.4bn in remittals and a further €2.5bn in allowances sent to the State in 2016.
In the 2015 Budget, the Government announced a €1bn investment to invest in new technology and remittance technology.
However in the same Budget, it announced the introduction of a new system which would require Irish citizens to remit at least €600 per month to the Government.
This scheme will be phased in over three years, with all households having to pay the same amount, which is expected to amount to €1.5 billion.
The Government is also planning to introduce a ‘Pay and Receive’ system, whereby payments will be automatically recorded for the first 30 days of a person’s residence in Ireland, and if they receive less than €600 for the same period, they will receive a refund of the difference.
In 2017, the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, announced that €50,000 in new grants to assist people who are unable to work due to illness will be made available to help people to get back to work.
The scheme will cost an estimated €10 million.
However it was announced that the Government will also be providing an additional €100,000 to cover the cost of the programme.