Time to protect against Lyme disease

During the summer, as people spend more time outdoors, the risk of tick bites increases. The 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, a long-sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Using an insect repellent, preferably containing DEET
  • 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

Read more on hse.ie. 

Know Your Rights: New General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Question

I have heard that new data protection rules are coming in. What are these rules and how will they affect me?

Answer (April 2018)

A new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the EU on 25 May 2018.

The GDPR strengthens your rights and gives you much more control over your personal data. It also introduces stricter measures for businesses and other organisations that collect, control and process your personal data.

Under the GDPR, personal data is data that relates to you or can identify you, either by itself or together with other available information. Examples of personal data include your name, phone number, bank details and medical history.

Under the GDPR you are entitled to:

  • Access the contact details of the organisation collecting your data
  • See a copy of the data held about you
  • Have it amended or erased if it is incorrect
  • Move or transfer your data
  • Object to the use of your data
  • Information about how your data is being protected

The GDPR also imposes more obligations on organisations that control and process your data. These organisations must design data collection systems that meet specified requirements, collect only the data that is absolutely necessary for their purposes, keep records of the processing activities under their responsibility, keep data secure and report any data breaches.

Find out more on dataprotection.ie and gdprandyou.ie.

Energy grants for small and medium businesses

The Lighting Support Scheme provides grants to part-fund the installation of energy-efficient lighting products and lighting controls.

To qualify for the scheme, your business must have fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of €50 million or less.

There are more details about the scheme and how to apply on seai.ie. You can also email info@seai.ie or call 01 808 2100 for more information.

Applications for the current scheme close on 31 May 2018.

Voters with disabilities – access to polling stations

If you will find it difficult to access your local polling station on 25 May due to the situation or design of the building, you can apply to vote at a more accessible polling station in your constituency.
You apply by writing to the returning officer for your constituency. There is no special application form. If possible, you should suggest the alternative polling station where you would like to vote.
You can find contact details for the returning officer in your constituency on referendum.ie or by calling the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on 01 888 2424 or 1890 20 20 21.
Your application must reach the returning officer by 18 May 2018.

Read more about facilities for voters with disabilities.

Mother and Baby Homes

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is establishing a Collaborative Forum of former residents of Mother and Baby Homes and people with comparable experiences in County Homes. The Forum aims to support former residents to actively contribute to decisions on matters concerning them and their families.

The Charter for the Forum (pdf) sets out its general functions and provides a framework for its programme of work.

Former residents of Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes are invited to apply for membership of the Forum. The Forum is also open to family members of former residents and people providing related supports or advocacy services.

To apply, download and complete the application form (.doc). If you would like help to complete the application form, you can call (01) 6473200.

You can return your completed form by emailing it to CollaborativeForum@dcya.gov.ie or posting it to Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 43-49 Mespil Road, FREEPOST F5055, Dublin 4.

Read more about the Forum on dcya.ie or in the Department’s information note (pdf).

False self-employment campaign

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of false self-employment. False self-employment is an employment relationship where it looks as if you are self-employed but you are actually an employee. If your employment is wrongly classed as self-employment, it affects your employment rights and the social welfare payments you are entitled to.

If you think you might be falsely self-employed, contact the Scope section of the DEASP on 01 673 2585 (9am-5pm) or email scope@welfare.ie. They will investigate the work relationship you have with the company and make a determination on your employment status.

Visit welfare.ie to get information on the criteria the Department uses to make a determination on your employment status or to find out more about the campaign. Information on false self-employment is available in English, Irish and 8 other languages (French, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Hindi and Mandarin).

You can still register to vote in time for the referendum on 25 May

You can use checktheregister.ie or inquire in your local library to see if you’re registered to vote. If not, you can still apply to be registered in time for the referendum.
The closing date for the supplement to the main Register of Electors is Tuesday 8 May 2018. Your application must reach your local authority by this date.
You can apply by completing form RFA2 (pdf), which is available to download on checktheregister.ie. There are detailed instructions on the form.

Collecting your welfare payments – May Bank Holiday Arrangements 2018

Monday 7 May is a bank holiday. The offices of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and all post offices will be closed on this date.
Jobseekers who are due to sign at their local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office on Monday 7 May will not have to do so. Normal signing arrangements will apply for the rest of the week.
Read about alternative payment arrangements on welfare.ie.