What's New

GP Visit Cards for people aged 70 and over

From Wednesday, 5 August 2015, everyone aged 70 years or over, ordinarily resident in Ireland, will be eligible for free GP care regardless of income.

All people aged 70 or over who do not have a medical card or GP Visit card can register from today (Friday, 31 July 2015) to access this service.

You can register online for the GP Visit Card.

Alternatively, you can download the application form (PDF) or request an application form by calling 1890 252 919. Registration forms will also be available from Community Health Offices.

Find out more on the HSE website, gpvisitcard.ie.

Bank holiday arrangement for social welfare payments

The Department of Social Protection has published information about arrangements over the bank holiday weekend.

DSP offices are closed on Monday, 3 August 2015.

If you are due to sign for a jobseeker’s payment at your Intreo office or local social welfare office on Monday 3 August 2015 you do not have to sign on that day. However normal signing arrangements apply for the rest of the week.

You can collect payments due to be paid at the post office from Saturday 1 August. Note that all post offices will be closed on Monday.

EFT payments to an account in a financial institution that are due on Monday 3 August will be paid on Friday 31 July.

It’s World Hepatitis Day

It’s World Hepatitis Day. In 2015 the World Health Organisation (WHO) is highlighting the urgent need for countries to prevent viral hepatitis infection and to ensure that people who have been infected are diagnosed and offered treatment. This year, the Organisation is focusing particularly on hepatitis B and C, which together cause approximately 80% of all liver cancer deaths and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.

Visit who.org to find out more. 

In Ireland the HSE urges anyone who may be at risk of hepatitis C to seek help and get tested. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people in Ireland are chronically infected with hepatitis C, more than half of whom are not aware of the infection. Approximately 700-800 new cases are notified each year.

Visit hepinfo.ie to find out more about Hepatitis C.

Know your rights: Applying for a student grant

Question

I’ve just finished my Leaving Certificate and am hoping to go to college in the autumn. How do I apply for a student grant?

Answer (July 2015)

SUSI is Ireland’s single national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants. It began to process grants in 2012, replacing the 66 local awarding authorities who had previously processed student grant applications.

You make an application to SUSI by completing and submitting an application form online. You must have an online account with SUSI before you can make your grant application. The closing date for applications is 1 August 2015.

You can use SUSI’s eligibility reckoner to see whether you meet the standard criteria to be considered eligible for student grant funding. You must meet the conditions of the student grant scheme. You must be an Irish, EU, EEA or Swiss national or have specific leave to remain in the State. You must also have been ordinarily resident in Ireland or the EU for three of the last five years). Your family’s means (in the previous tax year – 2014) are assessed. You must also be attending an approved course in an approved institution.

You must make sure that you provide complete and accurate information (date of birth, Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSNs) and bank details in particular) to avoid any delay to the processing of your application. You need to send hard copies of any supporting documentation to SUSI.

If you are refused a grant or are approved a grant at a rate you don’t think applies to your situation, you can appeal the decision in writing to SUSI. You must appeal within 30 days of getting your decision.

Student grants are reviewed each year. If you had a grant in one academic year and are continuing your studies on the course in the following year, SUSI will be in contact with you in order to renew or re-assess your student grant for that next year.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Know your rights: Bringing a dog into Ireland

Question

I am moving back to Ireland after living in France for some years. Am I allowed to bring my dog with me?

Answer (July 2015)

There are strict controls about importing pets into Ireland to ensure that diseases such as rabies are not introduced. The EU system of Passports for Pets allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel between EU member states.

If you are moving to Ireland or coming on holiday (or any other non-commercial movement where there is no sale or change of ownership) you may bring your dog with you. Your dog must have an EU Pet Passport. These are available from private veterinary practices.

The Passport certifies that the pet is travelling from an eligible country, is identified by an implanted microchip and has been vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel.

Dogs coming from countries other than the UK, Finland or Malta must be treated against tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before travel. The time and date of treatment are entered on the passport. Treatment for ticks is not compulsory but it is advisable to get it at the same time as the tapeworm treatment.

Airlines registered with the Department may choose to carry pets complying with the Pet Passport regulations. Compliant pets may travel on any ferry. The pet must travel with its owner or with a person acting on behalf of the owner (unaccompanied pets cannot travel to Ireland under the EU Pet Passport System).

The operator of the airline or ferry company is legally obliged under the Pet Passport (No 2) Regulations 2014 to notify the arrival of the animals to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by email at least 24 hours before the journey  to petmove@agriculture.gov.ie.

Further information is available from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (agriculture.gov.ie/pets/).

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Find out about the National Broadband Plan

Under the National Broadband Plan the Government aims to ensure that all citizens have access to high speed broadband no matter where they live or work.

As part of the plan the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is carrying out a public consultation.

The public consultation document (pdf) sets out the key elements of State intervention – what services are proposed and how they will be delivered. The purpose of this public consultation is to seek the views of industry, stakeholders and members of the public, on the measures proposed in the intervention strategy. This consultation will close at 5.00pm on 14 September 2015.

You can use the online template to make your submission (you then need to email or post your submission).

Know your rights: GP visit cards for children aged under six

Question

I’ve heard that young children can now visit the doctor for free but that they have to get a GP visit card. How do I get a card for my child?

Answer (July 2015)

From 1 July 2015, children under the age of six are entitled to free visits to a GP (family doctor) that is taking part in the free GP care for children under six scheme. All children aged under six who live in Ireland or who intend to live in Ireland for at least one year are eligible.

To get a GP visit card for children aged under six, you must register your child. To register, you will need:

  • Your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)
  • The PPSN of each child
  • Your choice of participating GP

You are sent your child’s PPSN when you register their birth. If you do not have a PPSN for your child, contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection on Lo-call 1890 927 999 or email cis@welfare.ie. If your baby is under two months of age and you don’t have a PPSN yet, you can register and leave the PPSN blank and the HSE will write to you separately to get it.

You can get a list of GPs who are taking part in the scheme at gpvisitcard.ie. The list also tells you whether your chosen GP accepts online registrations. If they do, you can apply online at gpvisitcard.ie. If a GP doesn’t accept online registrations, or if you prefer to use a paper form, you can download the registration form from gpvisitcard.ie, bring it to the GP to sign, and then send it to: GP Visit Card – Under 6s, PO Box 12629, Dublin 11.

Your child will be included in this scheme until the end of the month of their sixth birthday. The expiry date is shown on the card. You will be notified approximately three months before it is due to expire.

The card covers free GP visits, including home visits and out of hours, urgent GP care. It does not cover visits to hospital emergency departments.

If you have any questions about registering for the scheme, you can phone Lo-call 1890 252 919.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Know your rights: UK citizens and moving to live in Ireland

Question

I am a UK citizen and I am thinking of moving to Ireland. Are there any restrictions on taking up residence?

Answer (June 2015)

Citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) are entitled to live in Ireland without any conditions or restrictions. Unlike the citizens of other countries, they are not subject to the Aliens Act 1935 or to any orders made under it. This means that you, as a UK citizen, do not need a visa, any form of residence permit or employment permit to live in Ireland.

In general, while living in Ireland, UK citizens are entitled to avail of public services on the same basis as Irish citizens living in Ireland. For example, UK citizens who are resident in Ireland are entitled to health services in the same way as Irish citizens who are resident. UK citizens resident in Ireland whose income is from a UK source and who do not have any income from Ireland may be entitled to a medical card regardless of their means.

Unlike other EU citizens, UK citizens may retire to Ireland without having to establish that they have sufficient resources or that they have private health insurance. UK citizens living in Ireland are eligible for social welfare payments in the same way as Irish citizens living in Ireland. However you need to meet the requirements of the habitual residence condition (in the same way as Irish citizens living in Ireland) to qualify for many means-tested social welfare payments. If you have recently moved to Ireland, you may find it more difficult to establish that your main centre of interest is in Ireland.

UK citizens living in Ireland are entitled to vote in Irish elections, with the exception of Presidential elections and referendums.

The UK government has published a short guide on gov.co.uk for UK citizens who are living in Ireland and travelling to Ireland.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.