Home Energy Saving Loan

The Home Energy Saving Loan pilot scheme aims to help finance home energy upgrades. It is a partnership between Retrofit Energy Ireland Ltd (REIL), the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and participating credit unions.

The loan allows you to pay for home energy upgrades without needing to pay up front.

When you apply, REIL carries out a free survey of your home to find out what energy upgrades you can get. If you want any of the upgrades, you can apply for an SEAI grant to cover 35% of the cost. You then use a credit union loan to pay for the remaining 65% of the cost.

Find out more about this new loan.

Flu vaccine

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the strains of flu virus most likely to circulate every year. As flu season is generally from September to April, you should get the vaccine now to be covered for the full season.

The HSE recommends that people in at-risk groups in particular should get the flu vaccine. You are considered at risk if you:

  • Are aged 65 or over
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a long-term health condition
  • Work in healthcare
  • Are a carer
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • Are in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl

The flu vaccine is free from your GP, pharmacist or Occupational Health Department if you are in an at-risk group. However, you may be charged a consultation fee, unless you have a medical card or GP visit card.

Find out more about the vaccine on hse.ie.

Brexit: supports for business

The Brexit Loan Scheme offers access to finance for businesses that will be affected by Brexit. The scheme is delivered by participating commercial lenders on behalf of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

Under the Brexit Loan Scheme, eligible businesses can apply for finance on favourable terms. Each business can avail of a single loan ranging from €25,000 to €1.5m.

You can read more about the scheme on the SCBI website or in this detailed information pack (pdf) published by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Read about other Brexit-related supports on prepareforbrexit.com.

GP visit card for carers

Since 1 September 2018, all carers getting full or half-rate Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance can get a GP visit card. The card lets you visit your GP for free.

You can register for a card online or download an application form (pdf) from hse.ie. Forms are also available from your local Citizens Information Centre or you can phone LoCall 1890 252 919 to order one in the post.

Find out more about GP visit cards.

Beware of rental scams

If you are searching for private rented accommodation, you should be careful of rental scams. While these scams occur all year round, they are particularly likely now as students look for accommodation for the college year.

There are three mains types of rental scam:

  • The scammer claims they are out of the country and cannot show you the property, but asks you to pay a deposit to secure your tenancy regardless
  • The scammer is living at the property and shows a number of people around it, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money
  • The scammer tells you that you have secured a property, only for you to find that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared

To avoid these rental scams, you should:

  • Never agree to rent a property you have not seen in person
  • Never pay with cash or by Electronic Fund Transfer services
  • Use an escrow account to pay if possible

If you think you may be a victim of a rental scam, report it at your local Garda station.

Threshold, Ireland’s national housing charity, has more information about rental scams on its website.

You can also read more on garda.ie.