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.

Know your rights: Treatment Abroad Scheme // An Scéim um Chóireáil Thar Lear

Question

I know that medical treatments available in Ireland can be accessed in other EU countries instead. What if I need a treatment that isn’t available in Ireland?

Answer (March 2016)

If you are entitled to public health services that are available in Ireland, it is possible to access these services in the European Economic Area (EEA) and be repaid the cost under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

If you are a public healthcare patient and need treatment that is not available to you in Ireland, you may be able to use the Treatment Abroad Scheme to get the treatment in another country in the EEA or Switzerland. The Scheme may provide help with travel costs for the patient and a travelling companion, where appropriate.

You must be referred for treatment abroad by an Irish-based consultant who is treating you as a public patient. You cannot refer yourself or be referred by a GP.

You, and your referring consultant, must complete an application form and include a copy of your referral letter. Your application must be approved by the Health Service Executive (HSE) before you travel or start treatment abroad. You will get a decision on your application by letter, usually within 15 to 20 working days. If your application is not approved, you will be told the reasons and given information on how to appeal the decision.

If your application is approved, the HSE will issue a form called S2 (also known as E112). This authorises treatment abroad so that you do not have to make any payment to the healthcare provider. The treatment you have abroad must be in public healthcare under a registered medical practitioner in a recognised hospital or other institution that accepts the form S2. If you don’t have the S2 at your appointment, you may be charged and not be refunded. Any treatments or consultations that are not pre-approved will not be covered.

For an application form, contact the Treatment Abroad Scheme Office. You can get the contact details for your area by calling the HSE Infoline on Callsave 1850 24 1850 or online at hse.ie/treatmentabroad.

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.

Ceist

Tá a fhios agam gur féidir cóireálacha leighis atá ar fáil in Éirinn a rochtain i dtíortha eile AE. Cad mar gheall ar chóireálacha nach bhfuil teacht orthu in Éirinn?

Freagra

Má tá tú i dteideal seirbhísí sláinteachais phoiblí atá ar fáil in Éirinn, is féidir leat na seirbhísí sin a úsáid i limistéar eacnamaíochta na hEorpa (LEE) agus aisíocfar na costais duit faoin Treoir Trasteoann um Chúram Sláinte.

Más othar cúram sláinte poiblí tú agus má theastaíonn cóireáil uait nach bhfuil ar fáil in Éirinn, b’fhéidir go mbeidh tú in ann an Scéim um Chóireáil Thar Lear a úsáid chun go gcuirfear an chóireáil ort i dtír eile sa Limistéar Eorpach Eacnamaíochta (LEE) nó san Eilvéis. Seans go dtabharfaidh an Scéim cúnamh ó thaobh chostais taistil an othair de, agus ó thaobh costais taistil compánaigh freisin.

Ní mór gurb é lia comhairleach atá bunaithe in Éirinn agus a gcuireann cóir leighis ort mar othar poiblí a dhéanann an tarchur thar lear. Ní féidir an tarchur a dhéanamh tú féin nó ní féidir le do Dhochtúir Ginearálta (DG) é a dhéanamh.

Caithfidh tú féin agus an lia comhairleach a bhfuil an tarchuir á dhéanamh aige/aici an fhoirm iarratais a chomhlánú agus ní mór cóip den litir tharchurtha a chur isteach léi. Caithfidh tú faomhadh Fheidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte (FSE) a fháil maidir le d’iarratas roimh thaistil agus roimh thús na cóireála. Cuirfear an cinneadh maidir le d’iarratais in iúl duit i litir, i ndiaidh idir 15 agus 20 lá oibre, de ghnáth. Má tharlaíonn sé nach bhfaomhtar d’iarratas, cuirfear na cúiseanna in iúl duit agus tabharfar eolas duit maidir le hachomharc a dhéanamh ar an gcinneadh.

Má dhéantar d’iarratas a fhaomhadh, eiseoidh FSS foirm S2 (ar a nglaoitear E112 freisin). Leis seo, tugtar údarú ar an gcóireáil thar lear ionas nach mbeidh ortsa íocaíocht a dhéanamh don soláthróir cúram sláinte. Ní mór don cóireáil a chuirtear ort thar lear a bheith sa chóras poiblí cúram sláinte faoi liachleachtóir cláraithe  in ospidéal aitheanta nó in institiúid eile ina nglactar le foirm S2. Mura bhfuil an fhoirm S2 agat ag do choinne, seans go ngearrfar an táille ort agus nach bhfaighidh tú aisíocaíocht. Ní chlúdaítear cóireálacha nó comhairliúcháin nach bhfaomhtar roimh ré.

Chun fhoirm iarratais a fháil, déan teagmháil le hOifig na Scéime um Chóireáil Thar Lear. Is féidir na sonraí teagmhála le haghaidh do cheantair féin a fháil ach glaoch ar Líne Eolais FSS  ar Ghlao Sábhála 1850 24 1850 nó ar líne ag hse.ie/treatmentabroad.

Know your rights: Census 2016 // Daonáireamh 2016

Question

Can you explain how the census works? Do I have to complete the form?

Answer (March 2016)

The Census of Population counts every person who is in the State on a particular date. It establishes the size of the population in the State and it also helps to provide an accurate measure of population changes due to inward and outward migration.

The census takes place every 5 years and is carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The next census will be on Sunday 24 April 2016.

The census counts everyone who is present in the State on the designated night, including visitors who usually live abroad. Under the Statistics Act 1993, you are legally obliged to complete and return the census form. If you refuse to provide this information, or if you deliberately provide false information, you may be fined.

Teams of enumerators deliver census forms to every household and to every other type of place where people may be present on census night (such as hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, ships). Everyone who is actually on the premises on census night, including visitors, should be counted. Census enumerators call to all households to deliver forms before census night and then call back to collect completed forms. Enumerators all carry ID and can help if you have difficulty completing the form.

The form includes a wide range of questions, including age, marital status, sex, place of birth, level of education, type of employment and housing characteristics. All the information that you give on the census form is confidential. The CSO only uses it for statistical purposes and no other organisation (including government departments or agencies) can access information from the census that would identify you in any way.

When you have completed the form on census night, sign the declaration at the end of it and keep it safe until your enumerator calls back to collect it.

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.

Ceist

An féidir míniú a thabhairt ar fheidhmiú an Daonáirimh? An gcaithfidh mé foirm a chomhlánú?

Freagra

Déanann an Daonáireamh gach duine atá sa Stát ar dháta áirithe a chomhaireamh. Faigheann sé amach an líon daoine atá in Éirinn agus cabhraíonn sé freisin chun tomhas cruinn a chur ar fáil maidir le hathruithe  sa daonra de bharr inimirce agus imirce amach.

Bíonn Daonáireamh ann gach 5 bliana agus is é an Phríomh-Oifig Staidrimh (POS) a dhéanann é. Beidh an chéad daonáireamh eile ar siúl Dé Domhnaigh 24 Aibreán 2016.

Comhairtear sa daonáireamh gach duine atá i láthair sa Stáit ar an oíche ainmnithe, cuairteoirí a mbíonn cónaí orthu thar lear de ghnáth san áireamh. Faoin  Acht Staidrimh 1993, tá sé de dhualgas ar dhuine an daonáireamh a chomhlánú agus a thabhairt ar ais. Má dhiúltaíonn duine an t-eolas seo a thabhairt nó má thugtar eolas bréagach d’aon ghnó, seans go ngearrfaí fíneáil orthu.

Soláthraíonn foirne áiritheoirí foirmeacha an daonáirimh do gach teaghlach agus do gach áit eile ar féidir le daoine bheith i láthair oíche an daonáirimh (ar nós óstáin, tithe aíochta, ospidéil, longa). Ba chóir go gcuirtear san áireamh gach aon duine atá i láthair san áit oíche an daonáirimh. Tagann áiritheoirí daonáirimh chuig gach teaghlach chun na foirmeacha a thabhairt amach roimh oíche an daonáirimh, agus tagann siad ar ais arís chun na foirmeacha comhlánaithe a bhailiú. Bíonn comhartha aitheantais (ID) ag gach áiritheoir agus is féidir leo cabhrú leat má tá fadhb agat leis an bhfoirm a chomhlánú.

Tá réimse leathan ceisteanna san áireamh ar an bhfoirm: aois, stádas pósta, áit bhreithe, leibhéal oideachais, cineál fostaíochta agus saintréithe tithíochta san áireamh. Faoi rún atá eolas ar bith thugtar ar fhoirm an daonáirimh. Úsáideann an POS an t-eolas sin ar chúiseanna staidrimh amháin agus ní bhíonn teacht ag eagraíocht ar bith eile (ranna nó gníomhaireachtaí rialtais san áireamh) ar eolas ón daonáireamh a chuirfeadh in aithne in aon bhealach tú.

Nuair a bheidh an fhoirm comhlánaithe agat oíche an daonáirimh, sínigh an dearbhú ag an deireadh agus cuir in áit shábháilte í go dtiocfaidh d’áiritheoir chun í a bhailiú.

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. 

Know your rights: Home Renovation Incentive // An Dreasacht Athchóirithe Tí

Question

We plan to extend our home and hope to claim the Home Renovation Incentive. How does this scheme work?

Answer (March 2016)

The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme enables homeowners to claim tax relief on repairs, renovations or improvement work carried out on their homes. Landlords can also avail of the scheme. It is paid in the form of a tax credit at 13.5% of qualifying expenditure, which can be set against your income tax over 2 years. You must be paying income tax to avail of the HRI. You must also be up to date with your Local Property Tax (LPT) obligations.

Your contractor must be registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ireland and be tax compliant. They also have to register the work on the HRI online administration system. If you use several contractors, such as a builder, a plumber and an electrician, you can combine the cost of the works to make up the minimum qualifying expenditure of €5,000 excluding VAT at 13.5%.

Repair, renovation or improvement work subject to VAT at 13.5% all qualify for the HRI, including extensions and attic conversions; supply and fitting of kitchens, bathrooms and built-in wardrobes; fitting of windows; plumbing, tiling, rewiring and plastering. Work subject to VAT at 23% is not covered. Neither are items such as furniture, white goods or carpets.

The work must be carried out and paid for by 31 December 2016. In general, the tax credit is paid over the 2 years following the year in which the work is carried out and paid for. If you are a PAYE taxpayer, the credit will be included in your annual Tax Credit Certificates. If you are a self-assessment taxpayer, it will be incorporated into your tax assessment.

After work starts you should log in to HRI online to check that your contractor(s) have entered details of the work. You will not be able to claim the HRI tax credit if the details have not been entered onto  HRI online. Once the work has been completed you can claim the HRI credit. You access the HRI online system through Revenue’s myAccount service or through the Revenue Online Service (ROS) if you are registered for ROS.

There is detailed information for homeowners and landlords on revenue.ie.

Ceist

Tá sé ar intinn againn síneadh a chur lenár dteach agus táimid ag súil go mbeimid in ann éileamh a dhéanamh ar an Dreasacht Athchóirithe Tí. Conas mar a fheidhmíonn an scéim sin?

Freagra

Cuireann  an Scéim um Dhreasacht Athchóirithe Tí (DAT) ar chumas úinéirí tí faoiseamh cánach a éileamh ar dheisiúcháin, ar athchóirithe nó ar obair feabhsaithe a dhéantar ar a dteach. Is féidir le tiarnaí talún leas a bhaint as an scéim seo freisin. Íoctar mar chreidmheas cánach í ag ráta 13.5% den chaiteachas cáilitheach agus is féidir é sin a chur i gcoinne do chánach ioncaim thar tréimhse 2 bliana. Ní mór duit a bheith ag íoc cáin ioncaim chun DAT a fháil. Caithfidh tú bheith suas chun dáta le do dhualgais maidir le  Cáin Mhaoine Áitiúil (LPT) freisin.

Caithfidh do chonraitheoir a bheith cláraithe le haghaidh CBL (Cáin Bhreis Luacha) in Éirinn agus ní mór dóibh a bheith cáin-chomhlíontach. Ní mór dóibh freisin an obair a chlárú ar chóras riaracháin ar líne  DAT. Má úsáideann tú roinnt mhaith conraitheoirí, ar nós tógálaithe, pluiméirí agus leictreoirí, is féidir costais na n-oibreacha a cur le chéile chun íosmhéid an chaiteachais cháilithigh €5,000 (gan ráta CBL 13.5% a áireamh) a bhaint amach.

Tá obair dheisiúcháin, obair athchóirithe nó obair feabhais lena mbaineann ráta CBL 13.5%, cáilithe le haghaidh na scéime DAT, na cinn seo a leanas ina measc: síntí agus athchóirithe áiléir; cistineacha, seomraí folctha agus vardrúis ionsuite a sholáthar agus shuiteáil;  fuinneoga a shuiteáil; pluiméireacht, tíliú, athshreangú agus plástráil. Ní chlúdaítear obair a mbaineann ráta CBL 23% léi. Ní chlúdaítear rudaí ar nós troscán, earraí bána ná cairpéid ach an oiread.

Ní mór go ndéantar an obair agus go n-íoctar aisti faoin 31 Nollaig 2016 De ghnáth, íoctar an creidmheas cánach thar tréimhse 2 bliana i ndiadh na bliana le linn a ndearnadh agus a n-íoctar as an obair. Más cáiníocóir ÍMAT tú, cuirfear an creidmheas san áireamh i do Dheimhniú Creidmheas Cánach bliantúil. Más cáiníocóir féinmheasúnaithe tú, deanfar é a ionchorprú i do mheasúnú cánach.

Tar éis tús a bheith curtha leis an obair, ba chóir duit logáil isteach ar an gcóras DAT ar líne chun a chinntiú go bhfuil sonraí na hoibre curtha isteach ag do chonraitheoir(í). Ní bheidh tú in ann an creidmheas cánach DAT a éileamh mura gcuirtear isteach na sonraí  sa chóras DAT ar líne. Nuair a bheidh an obair curtha i gcrích is féidir an creidmheas DAT a éileamh. Is féidir teacht ar chóras ar líne DAT tríd an tseirbhís moChuntas de chuid na gCoimisinéirí Ioncaim, nó tríd  an tSeirbhís Ioncaim ar líne (ROS) má tá tú cláraithe le haghaidh ROS.

Tá eolas mionsonraithe le haghaidh úinéirí tí agus tiarnaí talún ar revenue.ie.

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.