The amount of money Ireland pays out in child welfare benefits to families in other European countries has been revealed.
According to figures obtained by the Sunday Independent, almost €40 million has been forked out over the past three years.
The payment is made to European Union citizens working here, who have children in their home countries.
In total, 7,938 children currently receive the payments – which have risen from €11.85 million overall in 2014 to €13.27 million last year.
The majority of this money goes to Poland, where the families of over 4,500 kids get €140 per month from the government.
This is significantly more than even the highest rate of child welfare in Poland, which is just €30.
It’s a similar story for those in Romania and Latvia. Ireland pays the families of 332 Romanian children and 182 Latvian children the Irish child benefit rate of €140 per month.
In comparison, the local rate in Romania is just €19, while the highest rate in Latvia is €34.14 per month.
A large amount also goes across the pond to the UK, where the families of 1,848 children get the benefits from the Irish government.
Social Welfare Minister Leo Varadkar has said that the benefits system needs to be overhauled.
Speaking at an EU Employment and Social Policy Council meeting in Brussels, Minister Varadkar suggested that child benefits should be brought in line to the rates that are paid in the country where the minor is living.
He said that Ireland wants to support the children of immigrants working here but that the system needs to be changed.