But it's true! I just learned about this today. Apparently back in May 2001 the Irish government started something called the Special Savings Incentives Scheme. Under this scheme (term commonly used similar to program - not necessarily meaning something sneaky), when you would deposit money into a special account applied for, the government would match 25% of the amount! No, REALLY! So basically for every 4 Euro deposited, the government would put in 1 Euro. One of the catches was that you had to leave your money in that specific account for 5 years. Also, you had to be at least 18 and you could only have one per person. So a parent couldn't open up an account for each child. There was a 23% tax at the end, but I think that there was also an interest that would offset that a little.
Without the tax, if you put in the maximum (which wasn't that high) and left it in for the 5 years, you would have accumulated 16,000 Euro and then the government would have matched that by 25% giving you a total of 20,000 Euro. Not too shabby!!!
For a better explanation: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/money-and-tax/personal-finance/savings-and-investments/government_savings_scheme