Irish passport holders and the United States Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program enables most citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.

From 1 April 2016, all Irish passport holders who are able to travel to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program must have a valid electronic passport.

Find out more on the website of the US Embassy.

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.

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Is féile idirnáisiúnta Ghaeilge í Seachtain na Gaeilge. Tá féile na bliana seo ar siúl ón 1–17 Márta 2016.

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.

It’s Dog Chipping month

This year National Dog Chipping month is taking place in March to encourage dog owners to get their dogs chipped, registered and certified before dog chipping becomes compulsory for all dogs in Ireland from 31 March.

Every 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 and reunited with your dog. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and can only be implanted by a vet, a veterinary nurse or a person who has been trained by one of the authorised databases.

Find out more about microchipping from the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the Department of Agriculture. 

It’s International Women’s Day

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2016 is gender equality. Following the general election in February 2016 Ireland now has 35 female TDs (out of 158).

Find out more about the day and related campaigns to raise awareness of women’s rights, to ensure that women are fully represented, and to prevent discrimination and violence against women. 

Find out about the history of International Women’s Day.

Caranua – information events

Caranua is an independent State body set up to help people who, as children, experienced abuse in institutions in Ireland and have received settlements, Redress Board or Court awards. Caranua offers support, information, advice and advocacy to survivors living in Ireland and in other parts of the world. The support provided is tailored to the needs and circumstances of each person and includes help with health, housing and education issues.

Caranua is hosting three information events in Dublin, Cork and Galway in early 2016. The events will provide information on support services available for survivors of Irish institutional abuse. Other organisations will have information stands at the event.

Find out more about the events.

School transport scheme

The Department of Education and Skills provides subsidised school transport for primary and post-primary pupils. Bus Éireann runs the school bus service and the Department of Education and Skills decides the annual fares.

Bus Éireann’s on-line application system for school transport is now open for the 2016/17 school year. The closing date for applications is 29 April 2016. Please note that only new pupils need apply, for example, pupils starting primary school or pupils moving to post primary school in Autumn 2016.

There are separate schemes for primary and post primary children.