What's New

Ireland is moving to level 3 from Tuesday 1 December

The Government has announced that Ireland will move to level 3 of the Plan for living with COVID-19, from Tuesday 1 December.

From 4 December, restrictions will be relaxed further with restaurants and gastropubs allowed to open for indoor dining. And, from 18 December, you will be allowed to have up to 2 other households to your home. People are also being asked to wear face coverings in crowded outdoor environments.

The Government has also published information about how to celebrate Christmas safely.

You can read a quick guide to Christmas changes on gov.ie.

ActivityFrom 1 DecemberFrom 4 DecemberFrom 18 December
Visitors to your homeNo visitors, apart from people in your support bubbleNo visitors, apart from people in your support bubble2 other households
Places of worship50 max50 max50 max
Museums, galleries and cinemasOpenOpenOpen
RestaurantsClosedOpenOpen
Pubs operating as restaurantsClosedOpenOpen
Wet pubsDelivery and takeawayDelivery and take-awayDelivery and takeaway
RetailOpenOpenOpen
Travel outside your countyNoNoYes

Know your rights: Shopping online

I bought presents online during the Black Friday sales. Can I get a refund if I’m not happy with them when they arrive?

When you buy online from a seller based in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, you have strong protections under consumer law. This is because you do not enter the contract in person and you cannot check the products before you buy.

Your rights are the same whether the item was bought at full price or on sale.

What are my cancellation rights?

You have 14 calendar days to change your mind without having to give a reason. This is known as the ‘cooling-off period’.

If you bought a product online your 14 day ‘cooling-off period’ starts when you get the product.

Does my right to cancel apply to all online purchases?

The cooling-off period does not apply to certain purchases. Examples are leisure services such as hotel bookings, car rental or concert tickets or if the product was made especially for you.

How do I cancel?

Before the end of your ‘cooling-off period’, let the seller know in writing that you want to cancel. You can do this by email or post, or by using the cancellation form provided by the seller.

You do not have to give a reason for cancellation, but you may have to pay for the cost of returning the goods.

When will I get my refund?

You must be refunded within 14 days of cancellation, including standard delivery costs. The seller may not process the refund until they have proof that you sent the goods back.

Brexit and buying online from a UK business

If you are buying online from a UK trader, your consumer rights remain the same during the transition period (until 31 December 2020). You should keep in mind that after the transition period those rights may change. You can find out more about shopping online on citizensinformation.ie.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. 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: COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)

I’ve had to close my business to the public during the latest COVID restrictions. Can I get any support?

There are a number of supports for business during COVID-19 restrictions. Under the new COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), there is a cash payment for qualifying businesses.

Sole traders, partnerships and companies can apply for the CRSS. You must have a valid tax clearance certificate and have met your VAT obligations.

Generally, this scheme applies when Level 3 or higher restrictions are in place in line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19.

To qualify, your business premises must be either closed to customers or substantially restricted in operating due to COVID-19 restrictions. You must intend to reopen once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and your turnover for the restricted period must be disrupted by 75% compared to 2019 levels.

To apply, you make a claim to Revenue under the CRSS for a cash payment known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE).

This ACTE payment is equal to 10% of your average weekly turnover in 2019 up to €20,000 and 5% thereafter, with a maximum weekly payment of €5,000. If your business was set up between 26 December 2019 and 12 October 2020, the claim will be based on your actual weekly average turnover.

There is a 2-step process to make your claim:

  1. You must register for the CRSS through Revenue’s Online Service (ROS).
  2. You must complete a CRSS claim for a claim period/s within 8 weeks of the date the claim period starts (that is the date the restrictions start).

The claim period is the period during which the qualifying COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

The current maximum claim period runs from 13 October 2020 (the date the scheme was announced) to 1 December 2020. The date you can start your claim from depends on the level of restrictions that were in place in your location during October 2020.

You can get more help from Revenue’s National Employer Helpdesk through the myEnquiries system or by calling the National Employer helpline Tel: 01 738 3638 (Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 5.00pm).

You can get information about supports for business during COVID-19 on citizensinformation.ie.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. 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: Prescription charges

I have a medical card but I seem to be paying more than the monthly cap for prescription charges for my family. Why would this happen and how can I get a refund?

If you have a medical card, you must pay a charge for each prescription item you get. Since1 November 2020, this prescription charge has been reduced from €2.00 to €1.50 per item, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family (previously, the maximum was €20 per month). If you are over 70, the charge is €1 per item up to a maximum of €10 per month.

Usually your pharmacy keeps records of how much you have paid in prescription charges and makes sure that you do not pay more than the limit each month. However, you may use different pharmacies in the same month, or your family members may not be set up as a family group, and you may end up paying more than the maximum.

If this happens, the Health Service Executive (HSE) will issue a refund. You don’t need to apply for it. This is done on the basis of the information from pharmacies. Refunds are issued every 6 months.

You can set up your family as a family group on medicalcard.ie and print off a family certificate to give to your pharmacist. This will show all of the members of your family so that your pharmacy will not collect charges above the monthly limit.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can ask your Local Health Office to help with setting up a family group. You can also call the HSE on 1890 252 919 or ask your local pharmacist, who may be able to help you. You can find out more about prescription charges for medical card holders on citizensinformation.ie


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. 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: Tax relief on tuition fees

My brother and I have started in third-level college this year. Can my parents claim any tax relief on our fees?

The cost of supporting children through third level education places a significant financial strain on many Irish families. However, your parents may be able to claim tax relief on your tuition fees, including the Student Contribution (sometimes called the registration fee), provided you are enrolled in an approved course in an approved institution.

All courses provided by publicly funded universities, colleges and institutes of higher education (PDF) in Ireland are approved for the purposes of tax relief. With respect to private institutions, the Revenue Commissioners publish a list of approved colleges and courses ahead of the commencement of each academic year. Currently, you can claim tax relief on tuition fees for:

  • Full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in approved colleges in Ireland or in any EU member state. The course must be for at least two years’ duration.
  • Postgraduate courses in private and publicly funded colleges in Ireland as well as universities and publicly funded colleges in other countries (EU and non-EU). Postgraduate courses must be between one and four years in duration and students must already have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Foreign language and IT courses that are less than two years’ duration and which result in the award of a certificate of competence. The course fees paid must not be less than €315 and not more than €1,270.

Tax relief is provided at the standard rate of 20%. Before you can claim relief, you must have paid the fees, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another person. There is no limit on the number of people you can claim for. The maximum amount of fees, including the Student Contribution that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course.

For a full-time student for the academic year commencing 1 August 2020, there is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees, including the Student Contribution. Similarly, there is no tax relief on the first €1,500 spent on tuition fees for part-time students. If you are claiming for more than one student, you will get full tax relief on tuition fees for the second or subsequent students.

You can claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue’s myAccount service. Alternatively you can download an application form from revenue.ie and return the completed form to your Revenue office.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Know your rights: Using a registered estate agent

I am looking for an estate agent to help me sell my house. How do I check if an estate agent is legitimate?

The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) is responsible for licensing and regulating estate agents and other property services providers, such as auctioneers, letting agents and management agents.

The PSRA maintains and publishes a register of all licensed property services providers. The register lists the name, number, licence type and location of each property services provider.

Your estate agent must have a PSRA licence to operate legally. You can check to see if your estate agent is licensed by the PSRA by:

  • Checking the Register of Licensed Property Service Providers
  • Asking to see the property services provider’s PSRA licence card
  • Looking for the PSRA business licence, which must be on display in the estate agent’s office or at an auction

Your estate agent’s licence is valid for 1 year, and must be renewed annually. Due to COVID-19, licences due to expire between 7 May 2020 and 31 August 2020 have been extended by 4 months.

Your estate agent must give you (the owner selling the property) a Property Services Agreement (PSA) or Letter of Engagement (LOE). This is a legal requirement. The PSA or LOE is an agreed contract between the PSP and their client. The document should clearly outline what property services are being provided and all costs involved. A PSA agreement or LOE letter is a legal and binding contract between you and the estate agent.

You can make a complaint against your estate agent about improper conduct that happened when they were providing a property service. You can find more about how to complain on the PRSA website.

The PRSA administers a compensation fund. This fund provides compensation to clients of licensed PSPs, who have sustained losses due to the dishonesty of a licensed PSP. To make a claim for compensation, your estate agent must have had a valid licence when they were working for you. For more details on the process of making a claim, read the PSRA’s guide to making a claim.

You can get more information about the PSRA on citizensinformation.ie


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Know your rights: UK driver licences and Brexit

I’m living in the Republic of Ireland and have a UK driver licence. I would like to convert it to an Irish licence before the end of the Brexit transition period. How do I do this?

When the UK formally left the European Union on 31 January 2020, both sides agreed on a transition period to finalise arrangements. This transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Your UK driver licence will continue to be recognised in Ireland until that date.

You must apply in person at a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre to convert your licence to an Irish licence. You must book your appointment online before visiting an NDLS centre. During COVID-19 Level 5 restrictions, NDLS centres remain open for people with booked appointments.

On the day, you should bring:

The citizensinformation.ie website has a full list of documents accepted as proof of identity.

Your completed application form must be accompanied by:

  • Your UK driver licence. If your driving licence is lost or expired, you need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence
  • A fee of €55

In some cases, driving licence medical or eyesight report forms may be required

You can get information on medical and eyesight report forms on citizensinformation.ie.

It may take up to 3 months for your licence to be exchanged, as each foreign licence must be verified with the country that issued it.

The NDLS also has useful FAQs on Brexit and driving licences (pdf).


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Know your rights: Support bubbles

What is a support bubble, and can I be part of one?

A support bubble is when an isolated person from one household has close contact with one other household. In a support bubble, also called a paired household, the 2 households can meet indoors, even though they do not live together. This is described as an extended household.

There are special rules about who can form a support bubble. You can only form a support bubble if you:

  • Live alone
  • Live alone with children under the age of 18
  • Share parenting or custody arrangements
  • Live with an adult you provide care for
  • Live by yourself and have a carer or carers who support you, including a live-in carer

Remember that support bubbles can only include 2 households. This means that you cannot:

  • Have close contact with anyone else outside your bubble
  • Join a bubble if the other household is already in a bubble with someone else
  • Be in multiple support bubbles

You can travel outside of your 5km radius to meet with your support bubble. However, you should try to form a bubble within your 5km radius, where possible.

If someone in your support bubble gets symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate immediately and phone a GP for advice. You can find a GP in your area through the HSE website.

Read more about what to do if someone in your bubble gets COVID-19 on gov.ie.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 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
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Ireland is moving to level 5 from midnight on Wednesday, 21 October

The Government has decided to move the whole of Ireland to level 5 on the
Plan for living with COVID-19.  The plan is a framework for managing COVID-19 in Ireland and sets out 5 levels that correspond to the severity of COVID-19 in a location.

Ireland will move to level 5 of the plan for 6 weeks with a review after 4 weeks. The Taoiseach has also announced a new provision of support bubbles – where people who live alone or are isolated can pair with another household. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will both be increased and the the moratorium on evictions will be reinstated.

Level 5 means that you are asked to stay at home, with the exception of exercise within 5 kilometres of your home. There will be no social or family gatherings. You can meet with 1 other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise. Weddings can continue to have up to 25 people in attendance and up to 10 people can attend a funeral.

Only essential workers can travel to work and only essential retail and essential services can remain open. Construction and manufacturing can stay in operation. In addition:

  • Schools, creches and outdoor play areas remain open with restrictive measures in place.
  • People over 70 and people who are medically vulnerable should avoid public transport, shop during designated hours and limit their interactions to a small number of people. Read more about cocooning .
  • Visits to nursing and care homes are suspended except in critical and compassionate circumstances.
  • Public transport can operate with capacity restricted to 25%.

We will update citizensinformation.ie with full details of the measures when they are available. You can get more information from the Government press release and you can read more about level 5.

Budget 2021

Budget 2021 was announced on Tuesday, 13 October 2020. The Budget focuses on the challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit with an overall package of 17.75 billion.

Our Budget 2021 document sets out supports for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit preparations as well as the main changes in taxation, social welfare, health, housing, education, employment and other areas.

You can access a range of Budget information from gov.ie:

You can also visit the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform budget website for all the Budget documentation and follow #Budget2021 on Twitter.