It’s Go Slow Day

Slow Down Day takes place over 24 hours from 7:00 am on Friday 27 March to 7:00 am on Saturday 28 March 2015.

The aim of Slow Down Day is to reduce the number of speed related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.  It is recognised that excessive and inappropriate speed is a major factor in road traffic collisions. Last year saw 196 road fatalities. As a general rule a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions, and this is why reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving road safety.

So, slow down, comply with speed limits and take the conditions into account when choosing how fast to drive.

Visit garda.ie for more information. 

Know your rights: Getting married abroad

Question

My partner and I are getting married next year. We are planning to travel abroad for the ceremony. What do we need to do?

Answer (March 2015)

If either your or your partner are Irish citizens and you are thinking of getting married outside Ireland, the legal validity of your marriage is governed, in part, by the laws of the country in which you marry. In most, if not all cases, the legal formalities abroad are very different to those in Ireland. For example, a church marriage abroad is usually a purely religious ceremony with no legal effect. Because it is not recognised in law in the country in which it takes place, it cannot be regarded as a legal marriage in Ireland. This is the case even though a marriage in the same church or denomination in Ireland is legally binding. This is because the religious ceremony is recognised in Ireland as a civil contract.

It is very important, therefore, that you make sure to meet all the legal requirements of the country you are marrying in. You should contact the civil registration office in that country to find out what is required. You may decide to have a civil marriage in Ireland followed by a religious ceremony abroad.

Although you must meet the foreign requirements, you are still bound by Irish law as far as the capacity to marry is concerned. For example, your marriage abroad will not be recognised under Irish law if one or both of you was ordinarily resident in Ireland and one or both of you was aged under 18 at the time of the marriage and did not have a Court Exemption Order.

Marriages that take place outside the State are not normally registered in Ireland. They are usually registered in the country where they occur. Your foreign marriage certificate will usually be accepted for official purposes in Ireland if you need to show evidence that you are married. If the certificate is in a foreign language, you must provide an official translation or a translation from a recognised translation agency.

You may require a Certificate of Freedom to Marry to get married in some foreign countries. This may also be called “Certificate de Coutume” or “Certificate of Nulla Osta”. You apply online to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry.

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.

Are you getting Rent Supplement and worried about losing your home?

If you are getting Rent Supplement from the Department of Social Protection and you are at risk of losing your home due to a proposed rent increase, there is support available. You should contact your local office that administers the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, which includes Rent Supplement, as soon as possible.

If you are living in the Dublin area or in Cork city, you can contact the Tenancy Protection Service, which is run by Threshold. The service can be reached on Freephone 1800 454 454.

Find out about the PolskaÉire festival

PolskaÉire 2015 – the first Polish-Irish Festival runs from 21 to 29 March. An estimated 150,000 members of the Polish community live in Ireland.

Events will be hosted by national institutions, local authorities, community groups, sports clubs and schools throughout the country. They include Polish language classes, a film festival, a food and craft fair and explorations of the links between Ireland and Poland

Visit polskaeirefestival.com for a programme of events. 

Connecting with the Irish Diaspora

Many people living outside Ireland claim Irish heritage and feel a connection to Ireland. The Irish Diaspora is the term used to refer to Irish people living abroad and people of Irish descent. A new policy that recognises the relationship between Ireland and its diaspora and sets out actions to nurture and develop this relationship was recently published:  Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy.

Deduction of Local Property Tax

If you selected a Single Debit Authority to pay your local property tax in full for 2015 this payment will be deducted from your bank account on Monday 23 March 2015.

The full amount due for 2015 will be deducted.

The actual due date for payment is Saturday 21 March 2015. However as banks are closed on that date the payment will be deducted on the next available working day which is 23 March 2015.

You should make sure that the necessary funds are available in your bank account so your LPT payment can be processed.  

Know your rights: Changes to the One-Parent Family Payment

Question

I’m getting a One-Parent Family Payment. I know that the age limits for the payment will be changing in July. What’s happening and how will it affect me?

Answer (March 2015)

On 2 July 2015 the age limit for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) will reduce to 7 years for most claimants. This means that a large number of people will no longer qualify for OFP from July 2015 because their youngest child will be over the age limit. If your youngest child is aged under 7 you can continue to qualify for OFP. (There are exemptions to the age limit for people parenting alone who are getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance or who have been recently bereaved.)

If your payment is ending in July 2015 the Department of Social Protection will write to tell you the date your payment ends. You may also be requested to attend an information seminar. At this seminar you will get information about the other social welfare payments that may be available to you and help with applying for these. It is very important that you attend the seminar so you fully understand your options and so that you are not left without a payment when your OFP ends in July.

If you are getting Family Income Supplement or a carer’s payment this payment will automatically be adjusted when your OFP ends and you will not be invited to a seminar.

You may also qualify for the new Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD). If you are getting FIS and your OFP is ending in July 2015, you will be sent an application form for the BTWFD along with the letter explaining the changes to your OFP payment.

If you were getting a One-Parent Family Payment in the last 3 years and your youngest child is aged under 14 you may qualify for the Jobseeker’s Allowance transitional arrangement. This arrangement allows you to work part-time and still receive a partial payment.

You can get more information and advice on these changes at your social welfare local office or Intreo centre or your nearest Citizens Information Centre.

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.

Public holiday entitlements

St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday. Most employees are entitled to paid leave on public holidays and are entitled to one of the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

If you work part-time and the public holiday falls on a day you normally work you are entitled to a day’s pay for the holiday (provided you have worked at least 40 hours for that employer in the 5 weeks before the public holiday). If you are required to work that day you are entitled to an additional day’s pay. If you do not normally work on that particular day you should receive one-fifth of your weekly pay. Even if you are never rostered to work on a public holiday you are entitled to one-fifth of your weekly pay as compensation for the public holiday.

Find out more about your entitlement to public holidays.

Submissions on the minimum wage

The Low Pay Commission is seeking the views of anyone with an interest in the minimum wage, as part of a public consultation process. The Low Pay Commission’s remit is to make recommendations to Government in relation to the setting of the national minimum wage, taking an evidence-based approach.

Submissions must be made in writing before the deadline of 5 pm on Monday, 13 April 2015.

You can make a submission via email to secretarylpc@djei.ie or by post to Low Pay Commission, Room 2.01, Davitt House, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2.

Read more about the national minimum wage. 

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Is féile idirnáisiúnta Ghaeilge í Seachtain na Gaeilge. Tá féile na bliana seo ar siúl ón 1–17 Márta 2015.

Tugann an fhéile deis go gach uile dhuine sult a bhaint as an nGaeilge, idir chainteoirí dúchais, fhoghlaimeoirí agus lucht an chúpla focal ar aon, trí fhéilire imeachtaí a chur ar fáil do gach cineál suime agus gach aoisghrúpa.

Is grúpaí deonacha agus pobail, comhairlí áitiúla, scoileanna, leabharlanna, agus eagrais cheoil, spóirt, ealaíon agus chultúrtha a eagraíonn imeachtaí ina gceantar féin do Sheachtain na Gaeilge.