What's New

Don’t forget to check the draft register of electors by 25 November

If you are not on the Register of Electors you may not have a vote in the general election that will be held in 2016. You can check the Draft Register of Electors at your city or county council’s offices, garda stations, libraries, post offices and online at checktheregister.ie until November 25 2015.

If you are aged 18 or over you should check that your name and address are present and correct on the Draft Register and, if there’s a mistake, tell your city or county council before 25 November 2015.

If you are not on the Register and you wish to be included on it you must fill in form RFA. If you need to correct or change your entry you must fill in form RFA1.  If you are on the Register but your address has changed, you use form RFA3. This will also remove you from the register for your previous address.

Caring for people with dementia

The Dementia Elevator Programme aims to help individuals, communities and health systems engage appropriately with people with dementia.The programme was developed by Dublin City University and the HSE (with the support of Atlantic Philanthropies).

Elevator takes a person-centred approach to dementia care. It aims to improve quality of life and help people with dementia stay at home, by providing the right supports and skills within local communities.

It offers a free online course on “Coping Skills for Families and Carers”. This course aims to show you skills that can help you cope with any challenges you might face day-to-day caring for a person with dementia. 

Know your rights: Microchipping of dogs


Our puppy has an identification disc on her collar. Does she need this, or should we just get her microchipped?  What are the rules?

Answer (November 2015)

Under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992, dogs must at all times wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or on a plate, badge or disc, so you are right to have an identification disc on your puppy’s collar. However, you must also get her microchipped and registered on an authorised database under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015.

Since September 2015, all newborn pups must be microchipped and registered. From 31 March 2016, the Regulations will apply to all dogs. Even if a dog has already been microchipped (for a pet passport, for instance) it will now have to be registered on an authorised database as well.

The microchip can only be implanted by a vet, a veterinary nurse or a person who has been trained by one of the authorised databases. The microchip contains a unique 15-digit number. When you register with an authorised database, this number will be recorded on it along with your name and address details. This means that, if your dog goes missing and is found, you can be identified as the owner and be reunited with your dog.

If you move house, you will need to update your contact details on the database. If you plan to buy a new dog, the seller will have to give you its certificate of registration and you should forward it to the relevant database to get the details updated.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has published a list of authorised databases, along with a set of Frequently Asked Questions on agriculture.gov.ie.

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 new It Makes Sense loan

A pilot microcredit scheme will be launched today. The initiative aims to reduce dependence on money lenders with very high interest rates. The project will be run in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, the Citizens Information Board, the Social Finance Foundation and An Post and is open to social welfare recipients who qualify for the Household Budget Scheme.

Loans under the scheme are called It Makes Sense loans. The scheme will be available in over 30 credit unions across Ireland. It is  currently a pilot scheme which will run for 6 months. It is intended to roll it out nationally after evaluation of the pilot.

Small loans of between €100 and €2,000 will be available to people getting certain social welfare payments who may not be able to get credit from other sources. The loans are available at a low variable interest rate and are easy to access.

You can get a list of participating credit unions and find out more on facebook.com/itmakessenseloan.

Read more about the scheme and how to apply for an It Makes Sense Loan. 

Commencement of Marriage Act 2015

From today, 16 November 2015, same sex couples can marry as provided for in Article 41.4 of the Irish Constitution.

From today:

  • Registrars can register the marriages of same-sex couples
  • The impediment preventing a marriage between two persons of the same sex has been removed
  • Civil partners can marry one another (they can give notice from 16 November onwards)
  • Marriages between same-sex couples contracted lawfully in other jurisdictions in other jurisdictions will be recognised automatically as marriages in Ireland
  • A couple who have given notice of their intention to register a civil partnership can convert this into a notification of their intention to marry
  • There can be no new notification of intention to register a civil partnership
  • Couples who have already given notice of their intention to register a civil partnership and have completed their civil partnership registration form have until 15 May 2016 to go ahead and register their civil partnership

Read more about the Marriage Act 2015 on justice.ie.

Getting ready for winter

The 2015-16 ‘Be Winter-Ready’ information campaign was launched on 12 November 2015.

The main objectives of the campaign are:

  • To provide practical advice on how best to prepare for the coming winter.
  • To ensure the public are aware of where advice and help can be found, if needed, and
  • To reassure the public that preparations are being made and arrangements have been put in place to ensure that there will be a coordinated response to severe weather events.

You can follow the campaign on twitter @emergencyIE

The winterready.ie website and the Be Winter-Ready booket give information on being prepared for bad weather, practical advice for coping during episodes of severe weather and the contact details of relevant organisations and agencies.

Converting civil partnership to marriage

From next Monday, 16 November, same sex couples will have the right to marry without distinction as to their sex as provided for in Article 41.4 of the Constitution.

From 16 November, when the new legislation takes effect, same sex couples will not have an option to apply for a civil partnership. However, those who are already in a civil partnership have the option of remaining as they are or converting to a marriage.

Same sex couples will need to give 3 months’ notice of their intention to marry in the normal way. However, people who are already in a civil partnership and who now wish to marry do not have to serve the normal 3 months’ notice and the notification fee has been reduced from €200 to €50.

Read more in this press release from the Department of Social Protection.