What's New

Supports over the Christmas period

The nationwide network of Citizens Information Centres will close on Wednesday 23 December 2020 at 1pm and reopen on Monday 4 January 2021 at 9am.

The Citizens Information Phone Service will operate reduced hours over Christmas.

Day Date Opening hours Comment
Wed 23/12/20 9- 5 Reduced hours
Thurs 24/12/20 Closed Christmas Eve
Fri 25/12/20 Closed Christmas Day
Mon 28/12/20 Closed St. Stephens Day
Tues 29/12/20 9 – 5 Reduced hours
Wed 30/12/20 9 – 5 Reduced hours
Thurs 31/12/20 9 – 5 Reduced hours
Fri 1/01/21 Closed New Years’ Day
Mon 4/01/21 9 – 8 Normal hours resume

If you need emergency support over the Christmas period you can contact a range of voluntary services.

Service CallOpening hours Email
Samaritans
If you are in distress or struggling to cope
116 123
24 hours (any time, day or night)
jo@samaritans.ie
Pieta House

If you are suicidal or engaging in self-harm
1800 247 247
24 hours (any time, day or night)
info@pieta.ie
Rape Crisis Centre

If you need support with a crisis
1800 778 888
24 hours (any time, day or night)
info@rcc.ie
Women’s Aid

If you are affected by domestic violence
1800 341 900
24 hours (any time, day or night)
info@womensaid.ie
Men’s Aid

If you are affected by domestic violence
01 5543811 Open 10-4 on 28, 29 and 30 December
Closed from 24 December to 27 December and 31 December to 3 January
hello@mensaid.ie
Childline

Support for everyone up to the age of 18 in Ireland
1800 666 666
Free Text 50101

24 hours (any time, day or night)
 
50808

If you are experiencing a crisis and are unable to cope


Text HELLO to 50808


24 hours (any time, day or night)


The HSE has a full list of online, phone and text mental health services.

Know your rights: Vehicle registration tax

I imported a car into Ireland last week but I couldn’t get an NCTS appointment until January 2021. Will my VRT be based on when I brought the car into Ireland or the date that it goes to the VRT centre?

While allNational Car Testing (NCT) Centres are open, they are operating at a reduced capacity because of COVID-19 and are experiencing high levels of demand. You will not be charged a penalty for a late registration if your registration appointment is within 30 days of bringing your car into Ireland.

If you imported a vehicle into Ireland before 31 December 2020 and can’t get an appointment for an inspection before 1 January 2021, the rate of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) you pay will be calculated based on the new payment rates for 2021.

From 1 January 2021, new VRT rates will apply based on the CO2 emissions of passenger cars. This is a new EU emissions test called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). The current 11 band table for VRT will be replaced with a 20 band table based on a new rates structure. 

The new VRT rates will range from 7% for the lowest CO2 emissions to 37% for the highest. In addition, you have to pay a Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) levy based on the NOX emissions of your car.

You can read more about the process of importing your vehicle into Ireland on citizensinformation.ie. For more information about upcoming changes to the way VRT is calculated, you can contact the Revenue Commissioners’ Central Vehicle Office on 01-7383619.


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: How to deal with scams

I clicked on a link in a text message that turned out to be a scam. What should I do next?

Scams target people of all ages and backgrounds. Scams are about tricking you into parting with your money and are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to spot. During the busy Christmas season, fraud and other scams are increasing.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed you should act immediately:

  • Stop all contact with the scammer
  • Do not send any more payments
  • If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately
  • Report the incident to your local Garda station –scamming is a criminal matter
  • Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications)
  • Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software
  • Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam

You may be able to get your money back depending on what happened and how you paid the scammer.

You may get your money back if you:

  • Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately.  In most circumstances, your bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.
  • Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

It’s unlikely you will get your money back if you:

  • Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.
  • Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.
  • Paid by vouchers or gift card

To protect yourself in future, you should not share your personal information if you don’t know who you are dealing with.  Trust your instinct and always ask yourself ‘is it safe?’

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie. We also have information on new scam warnings.


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: Rental protections during COVID-19

I lost my job because of COVID-19 and cannot pay my rent. Will I be evicted from my home?

No. If you are at risk of losing your rented accommodation because you cannot pay your rent due to COVID-19, you cannot be evicted and your rent cannot be increased until 11 January 2021 (under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020). It is expected that these protections will be extended until 12 April 2021, but legislation is needed for this.

To benefit from the rent freeze and eviction ban, you must be at risk of losing your tenancy because of COVID-19 and you must be getting either:

  • Enhanced COVID-19 Illness Benefit or
  • Any social welfare payment or State support to help with loss of earnings caused by COVID-19 (including Rent Supplement, Supplementary Welfare Allowance and the wage subsidy schemes)

If you meet these requirements, you must fill in and sign a Self-Declaration Form and send it to both the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and to your landlord. You should keep evidence of having sent the form. Then you can benefit from these protections. If you are already facing rent arrears, you should follow the RTB’s 8-step process to keep your tenancy.

You could also speak to your landlord and tell them that you are struggling to pay your rent. They may agree to reduce your rent until your situation improves. You should not stop paying rent completely. If you cannot pay the full amount of rent due, speak to your landlord or agent before you start paying a reduced amount.

Read more about renting during COVID-19 .


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.

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.