How the EU works

You can get information on how the EU works from the European Commission in Ireland. 

Your Europe Advice Service provides free and personalised advice on your rights in the EU within a week of your request. You can ask questions about any aspect of living, working or moving within the EU. You access the service by telephone or online:

If you need to discuss your case personally, you can make an appointment with the Your Europe Legal Adviser.

Polling day information

Polling at the General Election will take place on Friday 26 February 2016 and polling stations will be open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

If you are on the Register of Electors, a polling card will be sent to your home before the general election. Your polling card will include your elector number and will tell you where you can vote. You can also find out where your polling station is by contacting your local authority. Polling stations are usually in schools or other public buildings.

You do not need a polling card to vote. When you arrive at the polling station, you will be asked to state your name and address and you may be asked to prove your identity. If you are asked to prove your identity and you cannot do so, you may not be allowed to vote. If the presiding officer is satisfied in relation to your identity, your ballot paper will be stamped and handed to you.

You can read more about polling day and acceptable forms of identification (doc).

Information for farmers

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has launched its Schemes and Services 2014-2020 booklet.

The publication covers the various payment schemes administered by the Department, highlights important dates, covers animal health and welfare, supports for farmers, food safety controls and many other services. It also contains useful information on services available to the farming community from other Government departments.

You can access the booklet online (pdf) or contact the DAFM for a copy.

Access to polling stations

Whenever possible, polling stations are situated in buildings that are accessible to people with disabilities. Polling stations must be situated on the ground floor in all cases. If it is necessary and feasible, temporary ramps are installed to facilitate access to polling stations.

If you have difficulty gaining access to your local polling station, you can apply in writing to the returning officer – at least a week before polling day – for permission to vote at another polling station in the same constituency. The returning officer is the person responsible for the conduct of the election in your constituency. He or she will give public notice of all the polling stations in the constituency that are not accessible to wheelchair users.

In Dublin and Cork, the returning officer is the city or county sheriff, in other counties, it is the county registrar.

You can read more in the leaflet ‘Information for voters with disabilities’ on (pdf).


Lead in drinking water

A new grant scheme has been set up to help households with the cost of replacing lead pipes and fittings. The grant is means-tested and can cover up to 80% of the costs of replacing lead pipes. The maximum grant payable is €4,000.


 Household income % of approved costs available Maximum grant available
Up to €50,000 80% €4,000
€50,001 – €75,000 50% €2,500
In excess of €75,000 No grant is payable No grant is payable


Find out more from the Department of the Environment. 


Know your rights: Training Support Grants // Deontas Tacaíochta Oiliúna


I’m getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and am really interested in working with food. I found a café near me that is willing to offer me a job. They have asked me to do a food safety (HACCP) course first but I can’t afford the course fee. Is there any help with this?

Answer (February 2016)

You should talk to your Department of Social Protection (DSP) case officer about a Training Support Grant. This scheme can give you quick access to short-term training that will help you take up a work opportunity.

Your DSP case officer can approve a grant under this scheme where:

  • A training need is identified that is not provided by DSP directly or any other State provider and is not available quickly or in a suitable location.
  • The intervention identified is linked to both the activation needs of the jobseeker and labour market conditions.
  • The intervention is part of the agreed personal progression or action plan to enter or re-enterwork.
  • They are satisfied that you have provided reasonable evidence or grounds of need (for example, in the form of a job offer or of a potential job offer) or an identified skill gap or a requirement to maintain or achieve accreditation (for example, safe pass, driving licences, HACCP, security industry permits).

You can get funding of up to €500 a year under the scheme. (However the maximum contribution that can be approved and paid for essential driver training is €250.)

You need to provide a quotation from the training provider. Generally the grant is paid after you have finished the programme, done the relevant assessments and achieved certification.

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.


Tá an Liúntas Cuardaitheora Poist á fháil agam agus tá an-suim agam bheith i réimse an bhia. Fuair mé caifé áitiúil a bheadh sásta post a thabhairt dom. Ta siad tar éis iarraidh orm cúrsa sábháilteacht bia (HACCP) a dhéanamh roimh ré ach níl táille an chúrsa i m’acmhainn agam.  An féidir liom cabhair ar bith a fháil?


Ba chóir duit labhairt le do chásoifigeach sa Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí (RCS) maidir le Deontas Tacaíochta Oiliúna. Tríd an scéim seo, is féidir leat rochtain tapaidh a fháil ar oiliúint ghearrthéarma a chabhróidh leat deis oibre a thapú.

Is féidir le do chás oifigeach RCS deontas a fhaomhadh faoin scéim seo sna cásanna seo a leanas:

  • Aithnítear gátar oiliúna nach bhfuil á sholáthar go díreach ag an RCS ná ag soláthróir eile Stáit, ná a bhfuil ar fáil go tapa nó in áit oiriúnach.
  • Baineann an idirghníomhaíocht a aithnítear le riachtanais gníomhaíochta an Chuardaitheora Poist agus cúinsí an mhargaidh fostaíochta araon.
  • Tá an idirghníomhaíocht ina cuid den phlean comhaontaithe forchéimnithe pearsanta nó den phlean gníomhaíochta chun tosú ag obair nó chun tosú ag obair an athuair.
  • Tá siad sásta go bhfuil curtha ar fáil agat fianaise réasúnach nó forais riachtanais ( tairiscint poist nó tairiscint ionchasach poist mar shampla) nó bearna aitheanta ó thaobh scile de nó riachtanas creidiúnú a choimeád nó a fháil (an Pas Sábhailte, ceadúnais tiomána, HACCP, ceadúnais sa tionscail slándála mar shampla)

Is féidir leat maoiniú suas go €500 a fháil sa bhliain faoin scéim. (Maidir le hoiliúint riachtanach tiomána, is é €250 an ranníocaíocht is mó a fhaomhfar agus a íocfar.)

Ní mór duit luachan ón soláthróir oiliúna a chur ar fáil. De ghnáth, íoctar an deontas i ndiaidh go bhfuil an clár curtha i gcrích, na measúnaithe iomchuí déanta agus an teastas bainte amach agat.

Information and updates on the Zika virus

Zika is a viral infection that usually causes a mild illness that typically lasts between 2 to 7 days. Zika is spread by mosquitoes. Eighty percent of people who become infected by Zika virus have no symptoms. However infection with Zika virus has been strongly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly. Microcephaly means a baby born with an unusually small head. In these cases, the baby’s brain may not have formed properly during pregnancy. Cases of a neurological illness (called Guillain Barre Syndrome) possibly caused by Zika virus infection are also being studied.

You can visit the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre (HPSC) for further information on the Zika Virus Infection, including affected countries and FAQs.  

Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website to get advice on travelling to areas where Zika has been reported. 

Today is Safer Internet Day

This year the theme for the Day is “Play your part for a better internet”. The Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues such as cyber bullying. In Ireland, events will take place in 470 schools involving over 50,000 pupils.

Full information, as well as a series of useful resources aimed at young people, parents and schools, is available on the Safer Internet Day Ireland website.