A total of 6,092 recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in Clare will receive a Christmas bonus today, Deputy Joe Carey confirmed.

The local Fine Gael TD said: “Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are among the first in the State to begin receiving their Christmas bonus from today. In Clare, 6,092 PUP recipients will receive the 100% bonus.

“Of course the Christmas bonus will also be paid to the people who usually receive it, including pensioners, people with disabilities, carers and lone parents.

“In order for PUP recipients to qualify for the bonus you must have been in receipt of the payment for at least 4 months (17 weeks) since March.

“My colleague the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys has also taken care to ensure that anyone who returned to work last week as the restrictions eased, will not be excluded from the Christmas Bonus. Any person in receipt of PUP for any one day from Friday 27th November to Thursday 3rd December will still receive the Christmas Bonus provided they also meet the 17 week requirement.

“Last week the Government paid out €2,928,623 in PUP arrears to people in Clare. Now the Christmas bonus will be an extra support in December, at a time of year when there are many additional financial demands.

“The PUP has been an essential support for many workers during COVID-19. We look forward to a brighter 2021 with more people coming off the PUP and getting back to work,” Deputy Carey added.

Commenting today on the national picture, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said: “Overall this week, some €390 million is being paid out in the Christmas Bonus – the highest amount ever.

“And this morning, the Christmas Bonus is being paid into the bank accounts of 283,000 who are in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

“2020 has been a year like no other for so many people who lost their employment. It’s also been an extremely difficult year for businesses. 

“As we head towards the Christmas period, I would urge everyone to consider the impact the Pandemic has had and is continuing to have on small businesses.

“I would therefore appeal to everyone who receives their Christmas Bonus today and this week, where possible, to shop local. 

“By shopping locally, you are supporting your local economy, your local community and your local small businesses.”