Unplanned pregnancies

The HSE provides information and support on all your options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services on myoptions.ie.

The My Options freephone line will be open from 1 January 2019 on 1800 828 010.

Opening hours over Christmas and New Year

Citizens Information Board

The Citizens Information Board will be closed on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 December and on Tuesday 1 January 2019.

Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS)

CIPS can be contacted on 0761 07 4000. Its opening hours are:

Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)

Check with your local service.

The MABS Helpline can be contacted on 0761 07 2000. Its opening hours are:

Citizens Information Services

Check with your local Citizens Information Centre.


Public holidays over Christmas and New Year

Christmas Day (Tuesday 25 December) and St Stephen’s Day (Wednesday 26 December) are public holidays.
Tuesday 1 January 2019 (New Year’s Day) is also a public holiday.

If a public holiday falls on a day on which you normally work, you are entitled to either:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday
  • An additional day’s pay
  • An additional day’s annual leave

If the public holiday falls on a day on which you do not normally work, then you are entitled to one-fifth of your normal weekly wage for that day.

Part-time employees qualify for public holiday entitlement if they have worked at least 40 hours during the 5 weeks ending on the day before a public holiday.

Read more about your public holiday entitlements.

Drink driving offences


I’ve heard the law around drink driving changed recently. What has changed?


Yes, the law around drink driving has changed. Since 26 October 2018, under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, drivers who previously got 3 penalty points for certain drink driving offences will now be disqualified from driving for 3 months instead.

It is an offence to drive in a public place if the level of alcohol in your blood, breath or urine is above the prescribed alcohol limit. There are different alcohol limits for new drivers and experienced drivers. New drivers are drivers with learner permits or drivers who have held a driving licence for 2 years or less, or people without a valid licence or permit.

Drink driving offences can be dealt with through the administrative penalty system or the court system. However, the administrative penalty system only applies in certain cases, for example, where the driver has a valid licence or permit and their alcohol intake is below a certain level. The recent legislation changes the additional penalty for experienced drivers found with the lowest levels of alcohol in their system. These levels are:

  1. 51mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
  2. 68mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
  3. 23mg to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath

Previously, experienced drivers found with these levels of alcohol would be fined €200, and get an additional penalty of 3 penalty points. Now, these drivers will get the same €200 fine, but will also be disqualified from driving for 3 months.

Taxi charges


Can taxis charge higher fares over Christmas and New Year?


Yes, taxis can charge more on certain days over Christmas. There are three different rates under the National Maximum Taxi Fare; the standard rate, the premium rate and the special premium rate.

The standard rate applies from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The premium rate applies at night from 8pm to 8am and on Sundays and public holidays. And the special premium rate applies between 8pm on Christmas Eve and 8am on St. Stephen’s Day and between 8pm on New Year’s Eve and 8am on New Year’s Day. The rates are lowest at the standard rate and most expensive at the special premium rate. So, taxis can charge more when the special premium rate applies over Christmas.

The National Maximum Taxi Fare consists of 3 separate parts:

  • Initial charge:amount which appears on the meter at the beginning of the journey. This is €3.80 at the standard rate and €4.20 at the premium rates. It includes an initial distance of 500m, or 85 seconds.
  • Further travel:after the distance/time included in the initial charge has been exceeded, further travel is calculated on small portions of the journey. At low speeds, or when a taxi is stationary, the fare is calculated on the basis of time. The charges for further travel differ depending on what rate applies when you are travelling. The charges are lowest at the standard rate and most expensive at the special premium rate.
  • Extra charge: there are strict rules about extra charges, including a booking fee, additional passenger charges and a soiling charge.

You can ask for a discount before engaging a taxi. Drivers have the right to charge the maximum amount calculated on the meter, or a lower amount at their discretion.