More than 400 people are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday this year and receive the centenarian bounty of €2,540 from the President.
The figure of 400-plus was disclosed yesterday by Enda Kenny while giving evidence to the Oireachtas subcommittee on the Department of the Taoiseach.
Under the scheme, each person reaching the age of 100 receives a congratulatory letter from President Michael D Higgins as well as a cheque for the €2,540. The award is given to all persons, Irish and foreign nationals alike, resident here on their 100th birthday, as well as Irish nationals living abroad.
Mr Kenny told the committee that his department was allocating €3.267million to the presidency for 2014 of which €2 million would be spent on administration, while the bulk of the remainder would fund the centenarian bounty.
The Taoiseach said his office would spend €19.423 million in 2014, a reduction of 12 per cent on last year, and he would be concentrating on job creation and restoring Ireland’s reputation abroad.
As part of the President's visit to Britain this year – an "important and historic visit", Mr Kenny said – Culture Ireland would be staging an event in London to mark the contribution to British life that Irish people have made over the years.
In response to references made at the meeting by the Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, who described the first World War as “a bestial and criminal enterprise by the governments you rub shoulders with”, Mr Kenny said the impact of his recent visit to memorials and war cemeteries in Belgium was to underline “the reason we have the European Union”.
Mr Kenny also disclosed that his department was allocating €1.46 million for third party Moriarty tribunal costs. He told Mr Higgins he was unable to say whether this would be the end of Moriarty tribunal costs.