Action Plan for Jobs 2015

The Action Plan for Jobs 2015 was launched yesterday, Thursday 29 January 2015. The Plan is the fourth annual plan in a multi-year process which started in early 2012. It sets out in detail the actions to be taken by government departments and state agencies during 2015 to support job creation.

Find out exactly what the Action Plan for Jobs is. 

Thinking of starting a business?

The Start Your Own Business scheme provides a two-year exemption from income tax (up to a maximum of €40,000 per year) for people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months before starting their own business. You must have been getting a qualifying social welfare payment to take part in the scheme. It runs from 23 October 2013 to 31 December 2016.

It’s European Data Protection Day

When you give your personal details to an organisation or individual (a data controller), they have a duty to keep these details private and safe. This process is known as data protection. Data protection issues arise at work, when interacting with public services, when you buy goods or services, and when you travel or surf the internet.

European Data Protection Day aims to help citizens understand more about how and why their personal data is collected and their rights when data about them is processed and held.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has a short guide to data protection which outlines your rights and the responsibilities of those who hold and process your personal details.

Visit to read the guide and find out more.



See Something, Say Something: making environmental complaints

If you see environmental problems – backyard burning, fly tipping or illegal dumping it can be hard to know what to do.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started a campaign to explain how to report and resolve environmental problems – See Something, Say Something.

  • Some problems are the responsibility of local authorities – littering, backyard burning, water pollution, noise, dust and smells.
  • The EPA licenses large industry and large waste management facilities such as landfills so if the problem relates to a licensed business you contact the EPA directly. You can make an online complaint, contact the 24-hour National Environmental Complaints Line at 1850 365 121 or download an app to make a complaint directly from your smartphone.
  • Some areas, like wildlife and habitat protection, workplace health and safety, and public health are the responsibility of specific public bodies.


The EPA leaflet explains who you should contact and what you can do to help resolve environmental problems. 


Disputes between tenants and landlords

If you have a dispute with your landlord you may be able to resolve it informally. However sometimes this is not possible and you need to involve a third party to help resolve the problem.

The PRTB publishes a checklist for tenants on how to prevent disputes, along with a similar checklist for landlords.

Find out more about resolving disputes including where to go if your rental home does not meet the minimum standards for rental accommodation. 


It’s flu season

Flu is now actively circulating in the community. Influenza-like illnesses have risen from 15.5 per 100,000 to 29.0 per 100,000 population during the second week of January. Influenza is expected to increase over the coming weeks and circulate for at least the next 6-8 weeks. This increase in cases of the flu mean that it is very important to get your flu vaccination if you are in a high-risk group.

Find out about the seasonal flu vaccine and where to get it and find out what to do if you have the flu from 

CAO dates in 2015

You apply for almost all full-time undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). The CAO provides a handbook that lists all the courses on offer and gives information on how to apply. The closing date for 2015 applications from Irish and other European Union nationals is 5.15 pm on 1 February 2015. Late applications are allowed up to 5.15 pm on 1 May 2015.

Decisions on offers of places are normally made in August and September, after the results of the Leaving Certificate have come out.

Application deadlines and fees for 2015

Online discounted rate € 25 20 Jan 2015 (5:15pm)
Normal application (online or paper) € 40 1 Feb 2015 (5:15 pm)
Late online application € 50 1 May 2015 (5:15 pm)
Late paper application € 80 1 May 2015 (5:15 pm)
Change of Mind (opens from 5 May 2015) Nil 1 July 2015 (5:15 pm)

You can amend your course choices free until 30 January (the day before the normal application deadline). From 5 February 2015 you can pay €10 to amend your course choices online.

All fees are non-refundable. People who are applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes should indicated this on their online application forms by 1 March 2015.

Read our document on applying to college.

Become a Community First Responder and help save lives

After an accident Community First Responder groups provide the first response before the arrival of the emergency services. A first responder is a person, trained in basic life support and the use of a defibrillator, who attends an actual or potentially life-threatening emergency.

Community First Responder groups receive formal training and sign up to a programme with the National Ambulance Service to provide that immediate response in their area.

Read more about Community First Responder schemes.

If you think you would like to be involved then contact the National Ambulance Service

Changes to Universal Social Charge

Since 1 January 2015 incomes of €12,012 or less are exempt from Universal Social Charge (USC). Once your income is over this limit, you pay the relevant rate of USC on all of your income. There are also changes to USC rates in 2015.

Standard rate of USC (2015)
Rate Income band
1.5% Up to €12,012
3.5% From €12,012.01 to €17,576.00
7% From €17,576.01 to €70,044.00
8% From €70,044.01 to €100,000.00
8% Any PAYE income over €100,000
11% Self-employed income over €100,000
Reduced rate of USC (2015)
Rate Income band
1.5% Income up to €12,012
3.5% All income over €12,012

Reduced rates of USC apply to:

  • People aged 70 or over whose aggregate income for the year is €60,000 or less
  • Medical card holders under 70 whose aggregate income for the year is €60,000 or less

‘Aggregate’ income for USC purposes does not include payments from the Department of Social Protection.

Read more about Universal Social Charge.