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Know your rights: Public petitions // Achainíocha poiblí

Question

There is an important issue that I feel isn’t being considered by the Oireachtas but should be. I’ve heard that it is possible to make a petition directly to a parliamentary petitions committee. How does this work?

Answer (April 2017)

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions considers petitions from members of the public on matters in which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act. Anyone except for members of the Oireachtas can submit a petition.

To make a petition, you fill out a form which is available on the Oireachtas website oireachtas.ie. The form can be submitted by post, by email or online and only one signature is required. The committee secretariat can assist you in completing the form and can also give advice on the type of petitions which can be accepted.

You should be able to show that you have already taken steps to resolve the issue, for example, through raising it with the Ombudsman or directly with the relevant government department.

The Joint Committee will not consider a complaint which has been the subject of a decision by an Ombudsman, a regulatory public body or a body set up for the purpose of redress.

If the petition is accepted, the Committee may respond to it in a number of ways. It may:

  • Refer the petition to another appropriate committee, Ombudsman, regulatory public body or redress body
  • Report to the Dáil and Seanad with recommendations
  • Request the petitioner to attend a meeting and address the committee

The parliamentary petitions system is a way that you can take your concerns directly to Parliament and seek to influence the parliamentary agenda. Further information on the Joint Committee on Public Petitions is available on oireachtas.ie.

Ceist

Tá saincheist thábhachtach ann a sílim nach bhfuiltear á breithniú ag an Oireachtas ach ar cheart di bheith. Chuala mé gur féidir achainí a dhéanamh go díreach le coiste achainíocha parlaiminteacha. Cén chaoi a n-oibríonn sé?

Freagra

Is é an Comhchoiste um Achainíocha Poiblí a bhreithníonn achainíocha ón bpobal i leith cúrsaí ina mbíonn an chumhacht ag Tithe an Oireachtais chun gníomhú. Is féidir le duine ar bith seachas comhaltaí den Oireachtas achainí a thaisceadh.

Comhlánóidh tú foirm chun achainí a dhéanamh, a bhíonn ar fáil ar láithreán gréasáin an Oireachtais oireachtas.ie. Is féidir an fhoirm a thaisceadh trí phost, trí ríomhphost nó ar líne, agus ní theastaíonn ach síniú amháin. Is féidir le rúnaíocht an choiste cúnamh leat chun an fhoirm a chomhlánú, agus is féidir leat comhairle a thabhairt freisin i leith an chineáil achainíocha ar féidir glacadh leo.

Ba cheart duit bheith in ann a thaispeáint gur ghlac tú céimeanna cheana féin chun an tsaincheist a fhuascailt, mar shampla, ach í a thabhairt aníos leis an Ombudsman nó go díreach leis an roinn rialtais ábhartha.

Ní bhreithneoidh an Comhchoiste gearán a tháinig faoi réir cinnidh leis an Ombudsman, comhlacht poiblí rialaitheach bunaithe chun críche an tsásaimh.

Má ghlactar leis an achainí, is féidir leis an gCoiste freagra a thabhairt dó ar roinnt bealaí. Féadfaidh sé:

  • An t-achainí a tharchur chuig coiste iomchuí éigin eile, an tOmbudsman, an comhlacht poiblí rialaitheach agus sásaimh.
  • Tuairisciú chuig an Dáil agus an Seanad le moltaí
  • Iarraidh ar an achainíoch chun freastal ar chruinniú agus aitheasc a thabhairt don choiste

Is bealach é córas na n-achainíocha parlaiminteachta ar féidir leat d’ábhair imní a thabhairt go díreach leis an bParlaimint agus tionchar ar an gclár parlaiminteach a lorg. Tá tuilleadh faisnéise i leith Chomhchoiste na nAchainíocha Poiblí ar fáil ar oireachtas.ie.

Know your rights: Long-term illness and the State Pension // Scéim Tinneas Fadtéarmach

Question

I’ve been on Illness Benefit for over a year. I don’t ever expect to be fit to return to work. As I’m now nearing pension age, will I be entitled to a full State Pension (Contributory)?

Answer (June 2017)

The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions. To qualify, you will need to have paid at least 520 full-rate contributions, which is equivalent to 10 years. The amount of the pension will depend on your average number of contributions per year. Illness Benefit is paid for a maximum of two years. It will end before that if you turn 66, when you may be eligible for a State Pension. You should apply for the State Pension three months before your 66th birthday.

If your entitlement to Illness Benefit ends before you reach pension age at 66 and you are likely to be permanently incapable of work, you may qualify for Invalidity Pension. To get Invalidity Pension you must have at least 260 (or five years) paid PRSI contributions and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last complete tax year before the date of your claim. The last complete tax year is the year before your claim. For example, if you claim Invalidity Pension in 2017, the last complete tax year is 2016. Note that only PRSI paid in classes A, E and H currently count.

If you get Invalidity Pension, you will automatically transfer to the State Pension (Contributory) at the full rate when you turn 66.

You will be contacted by the Department of Social Protection  before your Illness Benefit is due to stop and you will be given information about your options. If at that stage, you don’t qualify for Invalidity Pension and have a disability that is expected to last for a year or more, you may qualify for a means-tested Disability Allowance.

You can get detailed information about the State Pension and payments for people with long-term illnesses from the website of the Department of Social Protection.

Ceist

Táim ar sochar breoiteachta le breis is bliain. Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh me sláintiúil a dhóthain chun filleadh ar obair. Ós rud é go bhfuilim ag druidim i dtreo aois an phinsin, an mbeidh mé i dteideal  pinsin iomlán (ranníocaíoch)?

Freagra

Tá an Pinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) iníoctha le daoine in Éirinn a bhfuil a ndóthain Ranníocaíochtaí Leasa Shóisialaigh íoctha acu agus a bhfuil 66 bliain slán acu.Chun a bheith incháilithe ní mór duit 520 ranníochaíocht ar an ráta iomlán a bheith íoctha agat, is ionann sin agus 10 mbliana. Braitheann méad an phinsin ar mheánlíon na ranníocaíochtaí in aghaidh na bliana. Íoctar sochar breoiteachta suas go 2 bhliain. Tiocfaidh deireadh leis roimhe sin má  shroicheann tú 66 bliain d’aois nuair a bheidh tú incháilithe do phinsean stáit. Bá chóir duit iarratas a dhéanamh ar phinnsean stáit 3 mhí roimh do 66ú breithlá.

Má thagann deireadh le do shochar breoiteachta roimh a shroicheann tú aois an phinsin  (6) agus más cosúil nach mbeidh tú riamh in ann obair, d’fhéadfadh tú a bheith incháilithe do phinsean easláinte. Chun Pinsean Easláinte a fháil ,caithfear na nithe seo a leanas a bheith agat ar a laghad 260 (5 bliana) ranníocaíocht ÁSPC íoctha agus 48 ranníocaíocht íoctha (nó creidmheas tugtha ina n-aghaidh sa bhliain cánach iomlán is déanaí roimh dháta an éilimh. An bhliain cánach is déanaí is ea an bhliain roimh an éilimh. Mar shampla, má dhéantar éileamh ar Phinsean Easláinte in 2017, an bhliain cánach iomlán is déanaí ná 2016. Nótáil nach n-áirítear ach aicmí ÁSPC A, E agus H.

Má fhaigheann tú an Pinsean Easláinte, aistreofar tú go dtí an Pinsean Stáit (ranníocaíoch) ag an ráta iomlán nuair a shroicheann tú 66.

Rachaidh an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí i dteagmháil leat roimh a chuirfear deireadh le do Shochar Breoiteachta agus tabharfar eolas duit maidir leis na roghanna atá agat. Mura mbeidh tú incháilithe ag an bpointe sin don Phinsean Easláinte agus má bhíonn míchumas agat a mhairfidh ar feadh bliana nó níos faide, d’fhéadfadh go mbeifeá incháilithe do Liúntas Míchumais ar bhonn tástála maoine.

Tá mionsonraí eolais faoin bPinsean Stáit agus faoi Íocaíochtaí do dhaoine a bhfuil tinneas fadtéarmach orthu ar fáil ar láithreán gréasáin na Roinne Coimirce Sóisialaí.

Change of mind deadline for college courses is 1 July

You can change your mind about your course choices up until 5.15 pm on Saturday 1 July 2017. There is no fee for changing your mind and you can submit as many change of mind requests as you wish.

If you submit a change of mind, it cancels and supersedes all the previous course choices in any category in which changes are made.

The Central Applications Office (CAO) provides information about how the Change of Mind process works, including a video. 

Know your rights: Retirement age // Aois Scoir

Question

My employer says that I have to retire when I reach the age of 65. Can an employer make you retire at a certain age?

Answer (June 2017)

There is no single fixed retirement age for employees. If you are employed, your retirement age should be set out in your contract of employment. The usual retirement age in contracts of employment is 65.

Many contracts have provisions for early retirement from age 60 (or in some cases from age 55) and most have provision for early retirement on health grounds. Some occupations – for example, firefighters, An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces – have provisions for earlier retirement.

While employment equality legislation prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age, employers are still allowed to set retirement ages in employment contracts. Since 1 January 2016, under the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 an employer may set a compulsory retirement age if the employer can objectively justify the retirement age of an employee. This could be for health and safety reasons, for example, the physical demands and requirements of the job.

If an employee has reached the employer’s mandatory age of retirement, this legislation provides that they may still be legitimately offered fixed-term contracts, provided that it is objectively justified. The provisions of the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 would still apply.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) provides information on your rights and entitlements under employment legislation. For further information about your contract of employment and retirement age you can contact the WRC’s Information and Customer Service at Lo-call 1890 80 80 90 or through the website, workplacerelations.ie.

Ceist

Deir m’fhostóir go gcaithfidh m dul ar scornuair a shroichfidh mé 66 bliain d’aois. An féidir le fostóir iachall a chur ort dul ar scor ag aois áirithe?

Freagra

Níl aon aois áirithe le dul amach ar phinsean. Má tá tú fostaithe, ba chóir go mbeadh an aois le dul amach ar phinsean leagtha síos i do chonradh fostaíochta. Is í an gnáth aois a bhíonn leagtha síos i gconradh le dul amach ar phinsean ná 65.

Bíonn socruithe i roinnt mhaith conarthaí le dul amach ar phinsean go luath ó aois 60 nó i roinnt cásanna ó aois 55 agus tá socruithe ag formhór acu i gcomhair dul ar phinsean luath mar gheall ar chúrsaí sláinte. Tá socruithe ag roinnt gairmeacha beatha do scor níos luaithe mar shampla, fir mhúchta dóiteán, an Garda Síochána agus na Fórsaí Cosanta.

Ce go bhfuil cosc ar leithcheal ar bhonn aoise sa reachtaíocht um  chomhionannas fostaíochta, is féidir le fostóire aoiseanna scoir a leagan amach i gconarthaí fostaíochta go fóill.  Ó 1 Eanáir 2016, faoin  Acht Chomhionannas (Forálacha Ilghnéitheacha) 2015 is féidir le fostóir aois scoir shainordaitheach a leagan síos ar an gcoinníoll go gcosnaítear é ar bhonn tosca oibiachtúla.D’fhéadfadh sé a bheith bunaithe ar bhonn sláinte agus sábháailteachta mar shampla riachtanais fhisiciúla an phoist.

Má tá aois scoir shainordaithe an fhostóra sroichte ag fostaí, tá foráil sa reachtaíocht gur féidir conarthaí ar théarma seasta a ofráil dó, ar an mbonn go bhfuil tosca oibiachtúil ann dó. Bainfidh forálacha   An Achta um Chosaint Fostaithe (Obair Téarma Socraithe) 2003 leis fós

Soláthríonn AN Coimisiún um Chaidreamh san Áit Oibre eolas ar do chearta agus do theidlíochtaí faoin reachtaíocht fostaíochta. Chun tuilleadh eolais fai do chonradh fostaíochta agus an aois scoir is féidir leat dul i dteagmháil le Seirbhís Faisnéise agus Custaiméara ag Ló-Ghlao 1890 80 80 90 nó féach workplacerelations.ie.

Know your rights: Medical card and Domiciliary Care Allowance // An Cárta Leighis agus An Liúntas Cúram Baile

Question

I’m getting Domiciliary Care Allowance for my daughter so I was happy to hear that medical card cover was being extended to children who qualify for the payment. The medical card application form seems to require a lot of information that doesn’t appear relevant in this situation. Is there another way to apply?

Answer (June 2017)

You don’t need to complete the medical card application form to get the medical card for your daughter. The medical card for children who qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) isn’t subject to a means test so information about your income is not required.

Instead, you can register your child online by going to the website medicalcard.ie  and clicking on ‘Medical Cards (DCA)’. The site also has a form you can download if you prefer to apply by post.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number and contact details
  • Your child’s PPS Number and date of birth
  • The name and address of your child’s GP

The website includes a list of GPs who are participating in the scheme. If your GP of choice is accepting applications electronically, your child’s details will be sent to them. If not, you will be emailed a copy of the relevant details, which you can print out and bring to the GP.

Once the GP accepts your child to their GMS patient list, the registration will be finalised by the National Medical Card Unit and a medical card in your child’s name will be sent to you.

If you have questions about the medical card, you can call the information line on Lo-call 1890 252 919.

Ceist

Faighim Liúntas Cúram Baile do m’iníon mar sin bhí áthas orm a chloisteáil go mbeidh clúdach cárta leighis á leathnú amach go páistí atá incháilithe don íocaíocht. Tá go leor eolais ag teastáil ón bhfoirm iarratas don chárta leighis nach dóigh liom é a bhith ábhartha don chás seo. An bhfuil bealach eile chun iarratas a dhéanamh?

Freagra

Ní gá duit an fhoirm iarratais don chárta leighis a chomhlánadh chun an cárta leighis a fháil dod’ iníon. Níl an cárta leighis do leanaí atá incháilithe don Liúntas Cúram Baile (DCA) faoi réir tástála maoine agus mar sin ní theastaíonn eolas faoi d’ioncam.

In ionad sin is féidir leat do pháiste a chlárú ar-líne trí dul ar medicalcard.ie agus gliogáil ar ‘Medical Cards (DCA)’. Más fearr leat iarratas a dhéanamh trí phost, tá foirm le híoslódáil ann freisin.

Caithfidh tú an t-eolas a leanas a sholáthar:

  • D’uimhir PSP agus do shonraí teagmhála
  • Uimhir PSP do pháiste agus a dháta breithe
  • Ainm agus seoladh DG do phaiste

Tá liosta na DG atá páirteach sa scéim ar an láithreán gréasáin. Má ghlacann do DG roghnaithe le hiarratais leictreonacha, seolfar sonraí do pháiste chuige. Mura nglacann, seolfar cóip de na sonraí ábhartha trí ríomhphost chugat. Is féidir leat iad a chur i gcló agus iad a thabhairt don DG.

Nuair a ghlacann an DG le do pháiste ar a liosta SGM, déanfaidh Aonad Náisiúnta na gCártaí leighis an próiseas a chríochnú agus seolfar cárta leighis in ainm do pháiste chugat.

Má bhíonn ceiseanna agat maidir leis n gcárta leighis, is féidir glao a chur ar an líne faisnéise ag Íos-ghlao1890 252 919.