Carer’s Support Grant will be paid on Thursday

The Carer’s Support Grant for 2015 will be paid on Thursday 2 June.

The grant is an annual payment made to carers by the Department of Social Protection. Carers can use the grant in whatever way they wish. You can use the grant to pay for respite care if you wish, but you do not have to do so.

In 2016 the grant will be €1,700 (increased from €1,300). The grant is paid automatically to carers getting Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance or Prescribed Relative’s Allowance. If you are not getting one of these payments and you did not get the grant last year, you should fill in an application form (pdf).

Read more about the Carer’s Support Grant.

What is a Blue Flag beach?

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. To qualify for a Blue Flag a beach or marina must comply with strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, visitor facilities, beach management,  information provision and environmental education. Beaches that do not have the infrastructure required for a Blue Flag can be awarded a Green Coast Award.

The Blue Flag is operated in Ireland by An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland. The 2016 Blue Flag awards were announced recently – for 79 beaches and 6 marinas.

Visit blueflagireland.org to find your nearest Blue Flag beach and to find out more about the award. 

Know your rights: Rules on operating drones // Rialacha maidir le dróin a oibriú

Question

I intend to buy a drone. Are there any rules I should be aware of?

Answer (May 2016)

Drones and model aircraft are both considered small unmanned aircraft and the same rules apply to their operation. The rules are set out in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order 2015 (SI 563/2015).

Under the rules, all drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). This includes the weight of the battery and all attached equipment, including cargo, at the start of its flight. You must be over 16 years of age to register a drone, otherwise it must be registered by a parent or legal guardian. You register your drone online at iaa.ie/drones.

You must never operate a drone in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of others and you must have permission from the landowner for take-off and landing. You must never operate it:

  • Farther than 300 metres from you or out of your direct line of sight
  • Over 120 metres above ground level
  • Over urban areas or over a group of 12 or more people
  • Within 120 metres of any person, vessel or structure not under your control
  • Closer than 5 kilometres from an aerodrome
  • If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
  • In civil or military controlled airspace or in restricted areas such as prisons

If you want to operate your drone outside these limits, you must apply to the IAA for a specific operating permission and complete a drone safety training course. If your drone weighs 4kg or more, you must complete a drone safety training course before operating it.

You should be aware that there may be privacy or trespass issues if you operate a drone over private property. While you do not need insurance to operate a drone it is recommended that you are insured and that you complete a drone safety training course.

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 sé ar intinn agam drón a cheannach. An bhfuil aon rialacha ann ar cheart dom a bheith ar an eolas orthu?

Freagra

Meastar gurb ionann dróin agus aerárthaí samhla agus aerárthaí beaga gan foireann agus baineann na rialacha céanna lena n-oibriú. Leagtar amach na rialacha san Ordú um Aerárthaí agus Roicéid Bheaga gan Foireann (Dróin), 2015 (I.R. 563/2015).

Faoi na rialacha, ní mór gach drón ar a bhfuil meáchan 1kg nó níos mó a chlárú le hÚdarás Eitlíochta na hÉireann (ÚEÉ). Cuirtear san áireamh leis seo meáchan an chadhnra agus an trealamh go léir atá ceangailte leis, lastas ina measc, ag tús a eitilte.  Ní mór duit a bheith os cionn 16 bliana d’aois chun drón a chlárú, ina ionad sin, ní mór do thuismitheoir nó  caomhnóir dlíthiúil é a chlárú. Déanann tú do dhrón a chlárú ar líne ag iaa.ie/drones.

Níor cheart duit drón a oibriú ar bhealach faillíoch nó meargánta a chuirfidh beatha nó maoin daoine eile i mbaol agus caithfidh tú cead a bheith faighte agat ón úinéir talún le haghaidh éirí de thalamh agus tuirlingthe.  Ní mór nach ndéanann tú drón a oibriú riamh:

  • Níos faide ná 300 méadar amach uait nó amach ó do líne dhíreach radhairc
  • Níos airde ná 120 méadar os cionn leibhéal na talún
  • Os cionn ceantair uirbeacha nó os cionn grúpa 12 dhuine nó níos mó
  • Laistigh de 120 méadar d’aon duine, árthach nó struchtúr nach bhfuil faoi do smacht
  • Níos giorra ná 5 chiliméadar ó aerodróm
  • Má bheidh sé ina ghuais d’aerárthach eile atá ag eitilt
  • In aerspás sibhialta nó atá faoi rialú míleata nó i limistéir atá faoi shrian, ar nós príosún

Más mian leat do dhrón a oibriú lasmuigh de na srianta seo, caithfidh tú iarratas a dhéanamh ar UEÉ ar chead sonrach oibriúcháin agus cúrsa oiliúna sábháilteachta dróin a chríochnú. Má tá do dhrón 4kg nó níos mó ar meáchan, caithfidh tú cúrsa oiliúna sábháilteachta dróin a chríochnú sula n-oibríonn tú é.

Ba cheart duit a bheith ar an eolas go bhféadfadh saincheisteanna príobháideachta nó foghla a bheith i gceist má oibríonn tú drón os cionn maoin phríobháideach. Cé nach dteastaíonn árachas uait chun drón a oibriú, moltar go mbíonn árachas agat agus go gcríochnaíonn tú cúrsa oiliúna sábháilteachta dróin.

Information about Lyme disease from the HSE

During the summer, as people spend more time outdoors, the risk of tick bites increases. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is urging people to protect themselves against Lyme disease, which is transmitted by infected biting ticks. Lyme disease can, in a small number of cases, cause severe debilitating heart and nervous system disease. However it is rare in Ireland.

The HPSC suggests that you prevent tick bites by:

  • Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Using an insect repellent, such as DEET (but use a low-strength DEET if you are pregnant – your local pharmacist can advise you)
  • Checking skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out
  • Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop
  • If you have been walking your dog, check him/her too

Read more on hse.ie. 

Know your rights: Challenging a school’s policies // Agóid a dhéanamh in aghaidh beartais scoile

Question

My son shaved his head on Saturday and was sent home from secondary school on the following Monday. The school is using school policy to justify suspending him for one week until his hair starts to grow. What can I do?

Answer (May 2016)

All schools should have policies in place to deal with issues as they arise in the normal day-to-day running of a school (codes of behavior, school rules and other policies). These should be provided or made available to parents of children attending the school. If you are unhappy about a school’s policy or the implementation of a school’s policy you can make a complaint to the school. The school should have a formal complaints procedure that you can follow.

The complaints procedure usually involves contacting the principal with your complaint. (The school’s procedures may ask you to speak to another member of staff before speaking with the principal.) If having spoken with the school principal, you are still not happy that your complaint has been resolved you may contact the chairperson of the school’s management authority.

If the chairperson cannot resolve your complaint they should discuss the matter at a meeting of the management authority. The school’s Board of Management is usually the management authority. However, in the case of Education and Training Board schools you should contact the Education and Training Board responsible for the school.

Shortly after reaching its decision, the management authority will let you know its decision on your complaint. This decision ends the school complaints process. The Department of Education and Skills provides information about making a complaint to a school on their website.

If you have followed the school’s complaints procedures and you are not satisfied with the outcome you can escalate your complaint about the school to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. The key criterion for any intervention by the Ombudsman for Children is that the action complained of has or may have adversely affected the child. The Ombudsman can examine any administrative actions of the school, staff or Board of Management including whether the school’s policies have been followed correctly or if those policies are fair.

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

Rinne mo mhac a cheann a bhearradh Dé Sathairn agus cuireadh abhaile ón meánscoil é an Luan dar gcionn. Tá úsáid á baint ag an scoil as beartas na scoile chun údar a thabhairt lena chur ar fionraí ar feadh seachtain amháin go dtí go dtosaíonn a ghruaig ag fás. Cé is féidir liom a dhéanamh?

Freagra

Ba cheart go mbeadh beartais i bhfeidhm ag gach scoil chun déileáil le saincheisteanna faoi mar a thagann siad aníos i ngnáthreáchtáil laethúil scoile (cóid iompair, rialacha scoile agus beartais eile). Ba cheart iad seo a sholáthar nó a chur ar fáil do thuismitheoirí leanaí atá ag freastal ar an scoil. Mura bhfuil tú sásta faoi bheartas scoile nó faoi bheartas scoile a chur i bhfeidhm, féadfaidh tú gearán a dhéanamh leis an scoil. Ba cheart go mbeadh nós imeachta foirmiúil gearán i bhfeidhm ag an scoil ar féidir leat a leanúint.

Is gnách gurb éard a bhíonn i gceist leis an nós imeachta gearán ná teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an bpríomhoide le do ghearán. (Féadfaidh nósanna imeachta na scoile iarraidh ort labhairt le comhalta eile foirne sula labhraíonn tú leis an bpríomhoide.) Mura bhfuil tú sásta go ndearnadh do ghearán a réiteach i ndiaidh duit labhairt le príomhoide na scoile, féadfaidh tú teagmháil a dhéanamh le cathaoirleach údarás bainistíochta na scoile.

Mura féidir leis an gcathaoirleach do ghearán a réiteach, ba cheart dóibh an cheist a phlé ag cruinniú an údaráis bhainistíochta.  Is gnách gurb é Bord Bainistíochta na scoile an t-údarás bainistíochta.  I gcás scoileanna Bord Oideachais agus Oiliúna, áfach, ba cheart duit teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an mBord Oideachais agus Oiliúna atá freagrach as an scoil.

Go gairid i ndiaidh a gcinneadh a bhaint amach, cuirfidh an t-údarás bainistíochta ar an eolas thú faoin gcinneadh a rinne siad ar do ghearán.  Cuireann an cinneadh seo deireadh le próiseas gearán na scoile. Soláthraíonn an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna faisnéis faoi ghearán a dhéanamh le scoil ar a láithreán gréasáin.

Má lean tú nósanna imeachta gearán na scoile agus má tá tú sásta leis an toradh, féadfaidh tú do ghearán faoin scoil a fhormhéadú le hOifig an Ombudsman do Leanaí. Is iad na príomhchritéir d’aon idirghabháil a dhéanann an tOmbudsman do Leanaí ná go ndearna nó go bhféadfadh an gníomh a ndearnadh gearán faoi drochthionchar a imirt ar an leanbh. Féadfaidh an tOmbudsman aon ghníomhartha riaracháin de chuid na scoile, na foirne nó an Bhoird Bhainistíochta a scrúdú, ina measc cé acu ar leanadh nó nár leanadh beartais na scoile i gceart nó cé acu an bhfuil nó nach bhfuil na beartais siúd cothrom.

It’s National Volunteering Week

This year’s National Volunteering Week takes place from 16 to 22 May 2016. It is organised by Volunteer Ireland.  Volunteer Ireland develops and supports best practice in volunteering and also supports Volunteer Centres across Ireland.

The theme of the week in 2016 is ‘thinking differently about volunteering’. If you want to volunteer in your local area there are over 3,000 volunteering opportunities currently available on I-VOL, the national database of volunteering.

Find out more from Volunteer Ireland.

Springboard courses

Springboard+ offers 280 free courses at 42 higher education institutions across Ireland. They include part-time courses and full-time ICT skills conversion programmes.

Springboard aims to offer qualifications in areas where there are job opportunities – such as ICT and financial services. Courses are available at certificate, degree and masters level and are generally one year or less.

In general, to qualify for Springboard you must be unemployed, with a previous history of employment, and you must be actively seeking work and available to take up work.  Most courses are part-time, enabling you to keep social welfare payments. Successful applicants for full-time ICT skills conversion courses who are in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment can apply for the Back to Education Allowance.

Read about Springboard and eligibility criteria.

Know your rights: The Homemaker’s Scheme // An Scéim um Chúramóir Baile

Question

I’m going to take some time off work to look after my children. What effect will this have on my contributions for the State pension?

Answer (May 2016)

Under the Homemaker’s Scheme, time you spend out of the workforce caring for children or a person with a disability can be disregarded when calculating your entitlement for a State Pension (Contributory). The scheme came into effect on 6 April 1994 (time spent homemaking before this is not taken into account).

You do not get credits for years spent out of the workforce. Instead these years will be disregarded when working out your entitlement to a State Pension (Contributory). However, you may get credits for the remainder of the year you leave the workforce, and for part of the year when you rejoin the workforce.

A homemaker, for the purposes of the Homemaker’s Scheme is a man or woman who provides full-time care for a child under the age of 12 or an ill or disabled person aged 12 or over. A homemaking year is a year in which you are out of the workforce for the full tax year. Up to a maximum of 20 homemaking years can be disregarded when working out your entitlement to a State Pension (Contributory).

To qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) you must have a minimum yearly average number of contributions from when you entered social insurance to pension age. The Homemaker’s scheme provides that full contribution years spent caring in the home are disregarded in calculating a person’s yearly average number of contributions. Take, for example, a woman who started work in 1985, took 10 years out of work to care for children from 1995 to 2005 and then returned to work for another 20 years before retiring in 2025 and applying for a State Pension. Her yearly average would be calculated over 30 years instead of 40 years when the 10 years spent in the home are disregarded.

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

Táim chun roinnt ama a ghlacadh saor ón obair chun cúram a thabhairt do mo leanaí. Cén tionchar a imreoidh seo ar mo ranníocaíochtaí don phinsean Stáit?

Freagra

Faoin Scéim um Chúramóir Baile, is féidir neamhaird a thabhairt ar an am a chaitheann tú amach ón lucht saothair agus cúram á thabhairt agat do leanaí nó do dhuine faoi mhíchumas nuair a ríomhtar do theidlíocht do Phinsean Stáit (Ranníocach). Tháinig an scéim seo i bhfeidhm an 6 Aibreán 1994 (ní chuirtear an t-am a chaitear i mbun cúram baile roimhe seo san áireamh).

Ní fhaigheann tú creidmheasanna do na blianta a chaith tú amach ón lucht saothair. Ina ionad sin, tabharfar neamhaird ar na blianta seo nuair a bhíonn do theidlíocht do Phinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) á deimhniú. Féadfaidh tú creidmheasanna a fháil, áfach, don chuid eile den bhliain ina bhfágann tú an lucht saothair, agus do chuid den bhliain nuair a iontrálann tú an lucht saothair athuair.

Is éard is cúramóir baile ann, ar mhaithe le cuspóirí na Scéime um Chúramaí Baile, ná fear nó bean a sholáthraíonn cúram lánaimseartha do leanbh faoi aois 12 bhliain nó duine breoite nó faoi mhíchumas atá 12 bhliain d’aois nó os a chionn. Is ionann bliain mar chúramóir baile agus bliain nach mbíonn tú sa lucht saothair don bhliain chánach iomlán. Is féidir neamhaird a thabhairt do 20 bliain mar chúramóir baile, ar a mhéid, nuair a bhíonn do theidlíocht do Phinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) á deimhniú.

Chun cáiliú do Phinsean Stáit (Ranníocach), ní mór go bhfuil meán íosta bliantúil de ranníocaíochtaí agat ón tráth a d’iontráil tú árachas sóisialach go dtí aois an phinsin. Foráiltear sa Scéim um Chúramóir Baile go dtugtar neamhaird do bhlianta ranníocaíochta iomlána a caitheadh i mbun cúraim sa bhaile nuair a ríomhtar meánlíon ranníocaíochtaí bliantúla duine. Cuirimis i gcás, mar shampla, gur ghlac bean a thosaigh ag oibriú i 1985 10 mbliana ón obair chun cúram a thabhairt do leanaí ó 1995 go dtí 2005 agus d’fhill sí ar an obair ar feadh 20 bliain eile sula ndeachaigh sí ar scor in 2025 agus sula ndearna sí iarratas ar Phinsean Stáit. Ríomhfaí a meánlíon bliantúil i gcaitheamh 30 bliain, in ionad 40 bliain nuair a thugtar neamhaird do na 10 mbliana a caitheadh sa bhaile.