Figures on social welfare spending during 2010 shows that a third of Ireland's expenditure goes toward social welfare payments, reveals the Independent.
The Department of Social Protection's Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services 2010 document show that the overall social welfare budget of €20.8bn now constitutes 33.4 percent of all current government expenditure.
Unemployment payments come just under 25 percent of the total budget, while 22.1 percent is spent on pension. The rest of the balance is taken up by the rest of the 80 schemes that come under social welfare, which includes everything from free travel to farm-assist payments.
Administrative costs came to over €575m, but this was less than three percent of the department's total budget.
In 2001, 903,375 citizens received some form of social welfare and there were 1,460,574 beneficiaries of the social welfare system. By last year, this had escalated to 1,430,833 recipients and 2,179,428 beneficiaries.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said that these supports showed "the Government's commitment to the welfare of all those in need of support."