What's New

Citizens Information has moved to 0818 prefix

The Citizens Information Board and its funded services have now moved to the 0818 prefix for all its telephone numbers.

Following a ComReg review and consultation, the number of Non-Geographic Numbers (NGNs) has been reduced from five to two. Only the 1800 Freephone and 0818 Standard Rate NGNs will remain in use. All other numbers will cease to operate from 1 January 2022.

Will calls to 0818 cost more?

Calls to 0818 will cost the same as to the previous 0761 numbers. Calls to 0818 are included in call bundles or will cost no more than calling a landline.

Helpline numbers

The national helpline numbers with the new prefix are:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service is 0818 07 4000
  • The Money Advice and Budgeting Service is 0818 07 2000
  • The National Advocacy Service is 0818 07 3000

For a listing of all local service numbers, check out citizensinformation.ie or mabs.ie. The details of regional NAS offices can be found at advocacy.ie.

The old 0761 numbers will remain operational in tandem with 0818 until 31 December 2021. However, from 1 January 2022, only the 0818 numbers will connect you to the relevant service.

Know your rights: Flight and hotel cancellation

I have booked my own flight and hotel online.  If I have to cancel what will happen to my money?

If you have planned a holiday where you booked the flights and hotel individually, you do not have the same level of protection as with a package holiday.

Your rights to cancel your flight and accommodation will be set out in the terms and conditions of the contract.

Cancelling your flight

If you have to cancel your flight or decide not to fly, you may lose the money you paid if the flight has not been cancelled by the airline or if you have not booked it as part of a package holiday.

If you booked the flight yourself you have no automatic right to re-routing or a refund. However, if you have to cancel because of COVID-19, you should contact the airline. Some airlines may be willing to offer you other alternatives like a voucher or credit note, or allow you to rebook your flight for a later date.

Cancelling your accommodation

Check the terms and conditions carefully to see what your rights about cancellation and refund options. You should contact the booking site if you need to cancel. In general, if you booked with a booking website, your contract is with the hotel and not the booking website. You may need to go to the hotel directly to ask for a refund. If you have a non-refundable hotel booking, it may be difficult to get your money back if you have to cancel.

Travel insurance

If you have taken out travel insurance to cover your holiday, check to see if flight and accommodation cancellations are covered. If you are not sure, contact your travel insurance provider directly to see if you can claim on your policy.

You can read more about travel during COVID-19 and your consumer rights on citizensinformation.ie.


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC)

I want to travel to the EU with my family this summer. How can I get my Digital COVID Certificate?

Ireland has introduced the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel from within the EU and EEA (the EU, plus Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland).

The DCC provides proof that you have been fully vaccinated with one of the EU approved vaccines or you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months or you have received a negative COVID-19 test result immediately before travel.

The Digital COVID Certificate comes as a QR code on your smartphone, by email or in paper format.

If you plan to travel abroad, you should check the testing and quarantining requirements of the country you are travelling to.

There are 4 different types of DCC. If you have been vaccinated in Ireland your DCC will be sent to you automatically.

Type of DCCWho is it for?How do you get it?
DCC based on vaccination Fully vaccinated people who got their vaccination in Ireland

By email (if the HSE has your email address) or by post



DCC based on recovery
People who had a recent positive COVID-19 test

You can request the DCC 11 days after your positive test

You must have had the positive test within the past 6 months
Request it by calling 1800 807 008 or by completing an online form


DCC based on negative RT-PCR test People who get a negative RT-PCR result at a private testing service
Test must be taken up to 72 hours before travel
From the private testing facility
DCC based on negative antigen test
People who get a negative antigen test at a private testing service*
From the private testing facility.

*Antigen testing is not accepted for travel to Ireland. You should check ReOpen EU to check if it is accepted in the country you are travelling to.

DCCs based on vaccination are being sent out by email or post. If you don’t get yours in the coming weeks, you can call the free Digital COVID Certificate emergency helpline on 1800 807 008. You can phone +353 76888 5513 from outside Ireland.

You can request the certificate based on recovery from the helpline or by completing an online form. If you submit a form online, you will get your certificate by email within 5 days.


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.


Know your rights: The law on outdoor drinking

What has changed in the law on drinking outdoors?

The law on drinking outdoors was recently changed to clarify that pubs and restaurants can serve alcohol to customers who are seated in ‘designated areas’ outside the premises.

Pubs and restaurants have been unable to open for indoor service due to COVID-19 restrictions. Local authorities have permitted outdoor seating in designated outdoor areas, but, previously, it was illegal to serve alcohol in those areas.

There has been no change to the laws about drinking outside in public places that are not ‘designated areas’ of a licensed premises. Drinking outdoors is not prohibited in general, but local authorities have bye-laws that don’t allow drinking in some or all public places.

If you are drinking in public and behaving in a way that could cause worry for safety, the Gardaí can confiscate your alcohol. They can also confiscate alcohol if it is being drunk by a person under 18, or if they have cause to believe that it will be consumed by a person under 18.

It is an offence to consume alcohol bought in a closed container (like a bottle or can) within 100 metres of the off-licence where it was sold. The law does not forbid a pub from delivering drinks to people’s homes, or stop customers from  bringing drinks home.

It is also an offence to be so drunk in a public place that you could reasonably be assumed to be a danger to yourself or to anyone around you.


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Patient Advocacy Service

I was in hospital recently and I was not happy with my experience there. When I complained to the nurse in charge I wasn’t satisfied with the response. How can I take my complaint further?

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a complaints system, called Your service your say, that you can use to make a complaint about your experience of a service provided by the HSE or on behalf of the HSE.

If you want to make a complaint about a public hospital to the HSE, you can get support from the Patient Advocacy Service to help you make your complaint.

The Patient Advocacy Service is fully independent of the HSE. It is a free and confidential service that can provide you with information to support you to make a formal complaint about an experience you have had in a public acute hospital.

The Patient Advocacy Service provides support by phone helpline, on 0818 293003, and on its website, patientadvocacyservice.ie. You can also email info@patientadvocacyservice.ie.

The service can explain how to make a formal complaint, including what you should include in your complaint and how to write it.

If there is a delay with the processing of the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Patient Advocacy Service can give you information about your options.

If you have a question about the Patient Advocacy Service, but you are not looking for information or support in relation to the care you have experienced, you can submit a contact form on its website.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Free cancer screening programmes

Do I need to register for the free cancer screening programmes and when do I become eligible?

The National Cancer Screening Service provides free screening programmes to help find or prevent different types of cancer. If you have any specific concerns or symptoms you should visit your GP (family doctor).

Cancer screening services are continuing during COVID-19.

BowelScreen

BowelScreen is a national screening programme to find signs of bowel cancer at an early stage, where there are no symptoms. The programme provides free bowel screening for men and women aged between 60 and 69 every two years.

If you are aged between 60 and 69 years and haven’t received an invitation for bowel screening, call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 to check if you’re on the register. If you are not on the register, you can add your details over the phone. You can also register for BowelScreen online.

CervicalCheck 

CervicalCheck is a national screening programme to prevent cervical cancer. Women and people with a cervix can get a free cervical screening test if they are aged between 25 and 65.

If you are on the CervicalCheck register, you’ll get a letter when your test is due. The letter will invite you to make an appointment with a registered GP, doctor or clinic.

You do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment if:

  • You missed your last cervical screening test
  • Your next test is due

You also do not need to be on the register to have a free screening test. If your test is due, you can book a test with a GP or nurse who is registered with CervicalCheck. You can find one in your area by visiting cervicalcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

BreastCheck

BreastCheck is a national screening programme to help find breast cancer at an early stage. The programme offers all women between the ages of 50 and 69 a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) free of charge every 2 years.

If you have not received an invitation for an appointment, check if you are registered by visiting breastcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55. If you are not registered, you can register online.


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Surveillance in the workplace

I am working from home during COVID-19. Should my employer have a policy on internet and email usage and what activities are they allowed to monitor when I am working from home?

You have a right to privacy in the workplace. However, your right to privacy is balanced against your employer’s rights to run their business and protect their company.

Your employer should give you their policy on email and internet use in the workplace, including the use of social media. This is known as an Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP). 

When you work from home (also called remote working), your employer should follow the same rules in relation to monitoring your work. This should include telling you:

  • Who is monitoring you
  • What they are monitoring
  • How they are monitoring you
  • When they are monitoring you

Your employer should tell you if they are using employee surveillance software, for example, to track your mouse and keyboard activity, your use of email, social media, files and applications, and so on. This may be contained in a policy provided by the employer.

Monitoring must be necessary, legitimate and proportionate

If your employer wants to monitor your internet use or emails, it must be necessary, legitimate and proportionate.

Necessary: Your employer must be sure that monitoring is necessary. They should consider less intrusive ways of supervising you before deciding on monitoring. For example, blocking websites would be less intrusive – and generally more acceptable – than monitoring your internet search history.

Legitimate: The monitoring should have a legal basis. For example, to make sure employees are not using the internet to download pornography, or to disclose confidential company information to people outside the organisation.

Proportionate: Your employer’s monitoring must be proportionate to the risk of the perceived threat. Proportionality means it must be fair, measured and reasonable in terms of its objectives. Monitoring all of your emails to make sure you are not passing on confidential information about the company would not be proportionate. However, monitoring your emails using an automated system to scan for viruses would probably be considered proportionate.

Read more about surveillance in the workplace.  


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Springboard+

I’m unemployed and I want to return to work.  Are there free courses I can take to develop my skills so that I am more employable?

Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including information and communications technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.

You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

  • You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
  • You are signing for social insurance credits
  • You are on an Employment support scheme such as Community Employment or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply to up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.

If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Basic bank account

I am on a low income and I need to open a bank account. Some banks offer free accounts to people who are a certain age or lodge a certain amount of money but I don’t qualify. Is there another option?

You can open a type of account called a basic bank account.

A basic bank account is a current account that has no maintenance fees or charges for everyday banking for at least one year.

To get a basic bank account you must:

  • Not have another payment or current account with a bank in Ireland
  • Be legally resident in the EU
  • Be over 18 years of age (for most banks)
  • Provide proof of identity and address and meet the bank’s criteria for opening an account

A basic bank account comes with a debit card. You can also set up direct debits and standing orders and register for online banking.

There are no charges for day-to-day banking, but there may still be charges for things like replacing your debit card, bank drafts, international services and missed payments. You should discuss this with the bank before opening your account.

You cannot get a cheque book or an overdraft with a basic account.

At the end of your first year with a basic bank account, your bank will review your account. If the total amount lodged into the account within the year is less than the national minimum wage, you will continue to get fee-free banking for a limited time.

If you go over this limit, or if you have had a basic account for a total of 5 years, the account will be converted to a normal current account and you will pay fees and charges.

If you want to open a basic bank account, you should contact one of the main banks to find out how to apply.

You can find more information about managing your money and opening a bank account on the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) website mabs.ie


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

I am getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. I have one child starting school in September.  Can I qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

Yes, you can. To qualify for this payment which helps with back to school costs, you must be getting a social welfare payment or taking part in a training, employment or adult education scheme. People getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Working Family Payment or the Back to Work Family Dividend can qualify. Your application will be means-tested and your total family income must be below a certain level for your family size.

Your children must be aged between 4 and 22 on 30 September 2021. If they are aged between 18 and 22 they must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of 2021. In general, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child with your payment.

The Allowance is €150 for children aged between 4 and 11 and €275 for children aged between 12 and 22. It is paid automatically to many families. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you will get a letter before 21 June 2021 to let you know.

You need to apply online for the BTSCFA, if you do not get a letter confirming your payment. If any of your children are aged 18 or over, you must apply for the BTSCFA for them and show evidence that they are in second-level education (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in your family).

From 21 June 2021, you can apply for BTSCFA online through MyWelfare.ie. You must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account to apply online. If you have difficulties applying online, you can contact the BSCFA section on 071 91 93318 or 0818 11 11 13. The closing date for applications is 30 September 2021.

Read more about the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and you can read detailed guidelines on gov.ie.


You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.