crosscare migrant project

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LIVING IN IRELAND: An Integration Website for Migrants living in Ireland

Refugee

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1. Asylum System

2. Moving on from Direct Provision

3. Family Reunification

Okezie’s Story

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Biography

Okezie is from Eastern Nigeria and now lives in Finglas with his family. He is currently completing a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management in Dublin Institute of Technology. He is also an MBA graduate from Liverpool John Moores University, an expert in the process management tool of ‘Lean Six Sigma’ and a qualified Financial Adviser.  Okezie is founder of the Royal Friends Club, Ireland which provides social interaction to immigrants and the community. Okezie’s community development work began in the asylum camp in 2005 where he received commendations for coordinating volunteering seminars for fellow residents at the Hatch Hall centre. Okezie has volunteered with a number of NGOs including Arthritis Ireland and The Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment.

Okezie has been placed with Noel Coonan TD for his internship. 

 

Sophie O'Brien: What was your perception of Irish politics before starting the scheme?

Okezie Emuaga: I had already engaged with the Irish political system before starting the scheme as a volunteer with another TD, and through my community work which often required interaction with the political system. 

I could see that politicians have to balance a heavy workload in addition to their constituency work, all the time taking the upmost care to ensure nothing goes wrong. This was my perception of politics before starting the scheme, and in taking part, my aim was to learn more about these processes. 

 

Sophie: Have your perceptions changed?

Okezie: I wouldn’t say that my perceptions have changed, rather they have been heightened. Before the scheme, I would have looked at politics from a shallow perspective in the sense that I was only concerned with how it affected me, without looking at the bigger picture. Now I can see that politicians have to juggle a number of different demands. To be a politician you have to be a good communicator but you also have to stay abreast of all the latest developments in Leinster House, even if it is not necessarily within your remit. 


Sophie: What have been the most enjoyable aspects of your internship?

Okezie: The most enjoyable aspect has been seeing how the political system works in reality. It has also been interesting to see how a politician’s work load is divided between specialist issues and more generalised areas. For instance, Deputy Coonan is Vice Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, whilst all the time remaining  up to speed with what is happening in his constituency. The workload is high, and you have to be cut out for this level of multitasking.

Another aspect of my placement which I have found intriguing is the tolling bell. To me, this bell acts as a reminder of the seriousness of the place – when the bell rings, a binding decision has been made. 

 

Sophie: What do you hope to take away from it?

Okezie: A key objective for me in this internship is to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics of political horse-trading. It is one thing to have strong opinions, but a key aspect of a politician’s role is being able to sell those opinions. I want to learn how to do this in an Irish context. You can learn the skills of negotiation in a classroom but putting it into practice is another thing altogether. 

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the OPD scheme 

Gladys’ Story

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Biography

An Irish citizen, Gladys is originally from Nigeria and currently resides in Co. Kildare. She has an M.A in International Communications from Dublin City University, a Diploma in Journalism from the Institute of Commercial Management and a B.A in English Language from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Gladys also recently completed a course in radio research and production training for migrant women. She previously worked as an intern in a TD’s office and has volunteered as a teaching assistant for the Athy Travellers Club. In Nigeria, Gladys worked for Africa Independent Television where she produced and presented the International Business News.

Gladys has been placed with David Stanton TD for her internship.

 

Sophie O'Brien: Why did you decide to apply for the OPD scheme?

Gladys Otono Atsenokhai: I found the scheme whilst searching online and was very interested in its objectives. I feel, in order to understand society, you have to understand its political history. For me, the scheme was an interesting way to gain a greater understanding of Irish culture through its political legacy. 

 

Sophie: Did you have much interest in Irish politics before starting the scheme? 

Gladys: I did an internship in another TDs office which kick-started my interest in Irish politics. Before this, I have to say I wasn’t too involved. During my Masters in DCU, I took a module in Political Communication which furthered my curiosity and knowledge of the system. Both I feel, have put me in good stead for my internship with Deputy Stanton. 

 

Sophie: Has your experience changed your mind on anything?

Gladys: The experience has inspired me to be more engaged at a grassroots level. I may join a political party after my internship has finished and this wouldn’t have been on my radar before starting the scheme.  

The experience has got me thinking about establishing my own project to promote increased migrant participation. My impression is that migrants living in Ireland don’t have much of an awareness of the Irish political system. Both naturalised citizens and otherwise, are often unaware of their voting rights. This is a burning issue as migrants, as a sizeable minority, need to be represented in the policy-making process. 

Whilst the idea is only at its nascent stages, I plan to use my own communication expertise particularly in the area of social media to reach out to the migrant community. 

 

Sophie: What advice would you give to future interns?

Gladys: You have to have an open mind and you have to be hungry for it. You’ll be surprised at how approachable politicians are, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and be creative. 

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the OPD scheme 

Migrants continue to be paid less than Irish

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The wage gap between migrants and Irish in the workforce fell only marginally during the recession, a leading economic expert has said.

Speaking at the international conference on migration in Dublin, Professor Alan Barrett of the ESRI said that the gap between migrants and nationals in the workforce should normally converge overtime.

In Ireland, the gap which stood at 10% in 2006 has fallen only marginally since the onset of the economic recession. 

Migrants were hardest hit during the recession the conference heard, with employment in this group down 20%, in comparison to Irish which fell only 7%.

In addition, migrants who are unemployed are less likely to be receiving social welfare payments in comparison to their Irish counterparts. 

Whilst there was an initial surge in the number of migrants signing-on at the beginning of the crisis, the numbers then tapered off. 

Professor Barrett suggested that the drop off in numbers could be the result of the discretionary element of the social welfare application process which may disqualify some migrants. 

He referred to the “centre of interest test” whereby an applicant has to demonstrate that Ireland is his/her centre of interest. 

“This provides a degree of discretion to people making decisions on welfare as to whether or not someone is entitled,” he said. 

 

source: Irish Times

Minister to reform unfair school enrolment process

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Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has announced plans to release draft legislation for fairer enrolment policies in schools over the next few months. 

Speaking at the annual ASTI conference in April, the Minister spoke of the need to abolish preferential treatment for past pupils, school application fees and first-come-first served policies which inadvertently place certain groups such as migrants and the Travelling community at an unfair disadvantage. 

In its latest report on Ireland, the ECRI which is responsible for monitoring levels of racism and discrimination in EU Member States reiterates the need for such improvements:

“ECRI recommends that the Irish authorities pursue and step up their efforts to ensure that the education system guarantees all children of immigrant origin equality of opportunity in access to education, including higher education.”

Under the proposed legislation:

  • parents will no longer have to pay simply to apply for a school place;
  • schools will no longer be permitted to give preferential treatment to the children of past pupils;
  • schools will be outlawed from interviewing parents and children prior to acceptance; and
  • first-come first-served enrolment policies will be abolished.

 

source: Irish Examiner

Adelita’s Story

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Biography

Originally from Brazil, Adelita Monteiro now resides in Glasnevin Co. Dublin with her husband and daughter. Adelita has extensive experience in the area of Social and Community development both in Brazil and Ireland. She has worked as a Community Development Worker with rural families in the countryside of Brazil, as a Manager of a house for 20 children from the streets of São Paulo and as a Youth worker in Dublin's inner city. Following on from her Masters in Equality Studies from UCD; Adelita spent time lecturing on Equality Studies for the Higher Certificate in Advocacy Studies at Sligo Institute of Technology and started working with the traveller community in Tipperary in 2010. She currently works with Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group, and is also a tutor and organiser of the Leadership Training for traveller women.

Adelita has just finished her six month internship with Independent T.D. Luke Flanagan.

 

Sophie O'Brien: What were your first impressions of the work of a TD?

Adelita Monteiro: My first impression was that of ‘an organised chaos’. There was so much going on, between the many ‘causes’ and daily activities and commitments that Luke is involved with, I could see that there was a system for dealing with all of that, but I couldn’t quite grasp that system. With a bit of time I got used to it and could find a few gaps where my contributions would be useful.

I was surprised to see how accessible Irish politics is, which is far from the reality in my country. There are many ways in which ordinary citizens and their representatives can get involved and make their voices heard. I was also surprised to see that the TD and his team would carefully listen, provide support and follow up with anyone that would call the office looking for help. I felt that people were taken care of. In my view, that is what a politician is supposed to do after all. 

 

Sophie: What were some of the most enjoyable aspects of the work? 

Adelita: I enjoyed overseeing and contributing to Parliamentary Questions (PQ). I could see them coming and going and I saw some level of accountability. I felt anyone could have power. If anyone thinks there is an injustice done, they can contact their TD and ask him/her to make a PQ on their behalf, asking the Minister what she/he has done or is going to do about the issue in question. They will have to give an answer and if it is not good enough we can keep asking. There is much more that can be done beyond the PQs, but I think they are a great start in the sense of giving a voice to people and thus putting democracy into practice. If people were more aware of this system and how accessible it is, I am sure the TDs would have an awful lot more work to do. 

There were a lot of other things I also enjoyed like walking with Luke in public protests, attending briefings and watching the Dáil sessions. But one of the things I most enjoyed was attending the committee meetings. A lot of controversial issues are discussed in the committee meetings in the presence of experts and high profile people. I attended committee meetings on the issue of abortion, criminalisation of prostitution; tackling child obesity (the operation transformation team), tackling childhood poverty; online safety (YouTube & Google reps); the Magnitsky case (human rights abuses), etc. All the issues discussed were of extreme importance and some very controversial. The information provided there and subsequent discussions were highly educative as the presentations had to be objective and persuasive. Presenters had only a few minutes to address their main concerns and to ‘make their case’. I felt really excited and privileged to be there and would recommend to students and anyone interested in politics: they are free lectures on current affairs!

 

Sophie: What other types of work where you involved in during your internship?

Adelita: I attended several meetings and events representing Luke, such as briefings on new laws or schemes that organisations are campaigning for. It is very interesting to learn first-hand about issues that will soon be in the media. I also helped Luke with administrative tasks such as sorting post, checking and replying to emails, adding events or appointments to his diary, organising folders and new files, summarizing documents, researching on specific topics, writing press releases, highlighting PQs and sending PQ replies to the people concerned.

 

Sophie: Did you face many difficulties along the way?

Adelita: Initially I had to make a difficult decision about taking part on this internship. I am a new mom and my baby was only 4 months when I started it. I was not sure if I was doing the right thing but I knew this would be a unique opportunity and decided to go ahead. I believe that, as well as the need for more migrants in politics, we also need more women. Women need to persevere and find ways to share family responsibilities so they can be free to take up work or other commitments.

Another challenge for me was to understand how the political system works. But I am convinced now that this will only happen with time and experience and probably not within 6 months. As an assistant to a politician, I felt the pressure to work to a timetable and be highly effective. It is very important to be able to gather the right information that will be useful to back up the TD’s views and their positions on certain issues. This is not easy work and you need to be constantly reading the papers, researching online and be very tuned in on the news.

 

Sophie: What are your lasting impressions of the internship?

Adelita: I expected this to be a unique and valuable experience and it was. It feels amazing to be in Leinster House, to meet and chat to politicians during the day and later see them on TV. It’s very exciting to think that I was so close to these powerful people and to the law making process. Being amongst them certainly boosted my confidence. I feel that if I have the right knowledge and if I make the right contacts, I could actually make a difference: fight for good causes, and help people in need. 

I understand now that politics it’s not as complicated as I thought, and that politicians are more normal than I thought. It did cross my mind: could I be a politician too? I am not sure about that, but I would certainly encourage others that wish to get more involved in politics.

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the 'Opening Power to Diversity' scheme

Mariam’s Story

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Mariam is from Nigeria. She has completed a Masters in Human Resource Management at the National College of Ireland and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Kent. Mariam is a Youth Officer for the Ireland branch of the Nigerian political party Action Congress of Nigeria. Founder of KuSoma, a moving library project providing rural villages in Africa with access to books, Mariam recently organised a ‘Young, Nigerian and Gifted’ event to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence. Mariam has worked as a presenter for Dublin City FM and is Vice Editor of SEADiaspora, an online publication covering African affairs. 

Mariam has just finished her six month internship with Labour T.D. Anne Ferris. 

 

Sophie O'Brien: How would you describe the last six months of the placement?

Mariam Ayeni Salami: It went so fast. I found it very insightful and eye-opening in terms of what I was exposed to and I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people. It's been very hard to go back to my normal job, during the six months my boss would often comment on how happy I seemed when I was doing my days in Parliament. 

 

Sophie: What was your attitude towards Irish politics, or politics in general before the placement?

Mariam: I would have described myself as politically inclined, but more so in relation to Nigerian politics than the political system in Ireland. The last six months have fed my interest in Irish politics and I feel that I will now take more heed of what is happening, particularly at a local level. I don’t know if I would run as TD but I can imagine myself working in politics locally as a councillor for example. At the very least, I intend to join a political party and explore my interest that way. 

 

Sophie: How, if at all have your perceptions of politics changed?

Mariam: Before the placement, I was of the opinion that politicians get a lot of money and have huge pensions for very little work. TDs are constantly working, but the vast majority of it takes place behind closed doors where no one can see. The experience has shown me that politicians are, contrary to popular belief, hard working individuals who do genuinely care about the welfare of their constituents. I have also been very surprised at how engaging and accessible Irish politicians are. In Nigeria it’s a different story. People cannot interact with politicians at such close quarters and you are often left feeling unrepresented.  

 

Sophie: What was the most challenging aspect of the placement?

Mariam: Juggling both jobs was a bit of a challenge for me, but thankfully my bosses in work were really amenable when it came to taking time off or switching days. The electoral tallying was also quite a challenge, whilst I found it interesting; I am not a numbers person and found the process complex and difficult at times.  

 

Sophie: What do you think you have taken away from it?

Mariam: I think one of the main things I have taken away from the experience is how important it is for women to be in the seats of power. I had the opportunity to attend a number of conferences held by the National Women’s Council of Ireland which really ignited my interest in women’s rights and the importance of women’s presence in the political sphere.

The experience also taught me that if you can, work in something that you are passionate about. I really enjoyed my time in Leinster House and it has shown me how rewarding work can be. Now, I am more driven to explore new career opportunities and to invest time in finding a job that I truely enjoy. 

 

Sophie O'Brien is the OPD Programe Assistant

Ireland has made positive developments, says EU racism monitoring body

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The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) welcomes positive developments in Ireland, but says that a number of issues remain a matter of concern.  

The report notes the continuation of the Equality Authority’s work of investigating and mediating on matters relating to discrimination as a key step towards the promotion of egalitarianism.  Similarly, it states that the Equality Authority continues to be a key player in the application of and dissemination of information on equality legislation.

The report also highlights the establishment of the National Employment Rights in 2007 as a key development. In the same year, the Office of the Press Ombudsman and the Press Council were also established to provide a system of independent regulation for the print media to prohibit the publication of discriminatory material. 

Whilst the authors of the report welcome these key advances, they highlight a number of key areas which remain in need of reform. 

Amongst them, the report notes the closing down of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism and the transferring of its functions to the Office of the Minister for Integration as a major loss for the State. “The expertise gathered by the NCCRI, the bridge between authorities and the civil society and the unique reporting system about racist incidents were lost.” It said.

Furthermore, the report highlights the failure by the Irish Government to renew the National Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2008) which was adopted as a follow-up to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism held in 2001. 

According to the report, significant shortfalls remain in the inclusion of migrants in the Irish educational system. Pupils of immigrant background constitute 10% of primary school children and 12% of post-primary school children. Of those children for whom English is not their first language, 70% to 75% may require extra English language assistance. The report states that Ireland is not very well prepared to help new immigrants enter the school system and the authorities have recently withdrawn funding from the Integrate Ireland Language and Training centres which help adult immigrants and refugees to acquire language skills. 

Ireland’s legislation for persons in need of protection status remains a major area of concern for the authors of the report, who call for the introduction of a single protection determination procedure for those in need of a protection status.

The report is the ‘fourth monitoring cycle’ of reports carried out by the ECRI which analyse the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

The findings of this report are the culmination of documentary analyses, contact visits and consultation with Irish government from January 2008 to June 2012. 

Click here for the full report.  

Voltaire’s Story

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Biography
Prior to moving to Ireland in 2005 from the Philippines, Voltaire held various governmental posts over a twenty year period, in the Department of Finance in the Philippines. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Civil Engineering from Manila National University, along with a Bachelor of Law from Arellano Law School in Pasay City. In 2000, he passed the Bar Examinations for the Supreme Court of the Philippines. His previous experience includes time as a Civil Engineer and he has worked as a CAD Operator since moving to Ireland, attaining a certificate in AutoCAD in 2007.

Voltaire is working with Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin T.D for his six month placement.

Sophie O'Brien: What were your reasons for applying for the scheme?

Voltaire Bicomong: This country has been good to me and I saw the scheme as an opportunity to give back to what has been a home away from home. I thought, what better way to contribute to society than by participating in its political system.


Sophie: Has the scheme increased your interest in Irish politics?
Voltaire: Yes definitely, and I have realised that there is a lot more to it than I had expected. I have already learnt so much but am aware that there is a lot left to find out. I particularly enjoy the fact that I am exposed to both national and local level politics. For instance, I recently compiled a comprehensive database of all Deputy Ó’Ríordáin’s constituents and their issues which gave me great insight into political dynamics on the ground. In Leinster House, I have the opportunity to attend many meetings with Aodhán which gives a very different perspective.


Sophie: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
Voltaire: The first thing that comes to mind is having the opportunity to work in Leinster House, not many people can say that.


In terms of work, I have really enjoyed working on the Constitutional Convention which Aodhán is deeply involved in. As part of his work on this issue, Deputy Ó’Ríordáin visits many schools to discuss the issues with students. I have accompanied him on a number of occasions and have been impressed by the level of insight and knowledge demonstrated by some of the students. Mount Temple Comprehensive School is one such example that comes to mind.


Sophie: What do you hope to take away from it?
Voltaire: The experience has made me see politics differently, particularly my view of politicians whom I previously thought of as cold and unapproachable. You forget that politicians are human and they behave in the same way as us. They get upset, frustrated, they have a sense of humour – it’s fascinating to see.


I am also more certain in my belief that migrant communities should take an interest in politics. I think many in the migrant community are intimidated by politics and see it as something which they cannot get involved in. I have realised that the government is not here to scare people so there is no need to feel afraid. Migrants can play an integral role in politics and we need to show people that we are an asset to the state, not a burden.

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the OPD scheme.





 

Mandy’s Story

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Biography
Mandy Lau is originally from Hong Kong, but has been living in Kildare for over 20 years where she manages a family-run hotel. Mandy also teaches English to members of the Chinese community in Ireland via the Chinese Gospel Church in Dublin and has worked as an interpreter for Crosscare Migrant Project. In 2006, Mandy completed her degree in Political Science and Business Management from Trinity College Dublin. Through her first-hand experience, she believes that there is a need for greater involvement of migrants in the political sphere and her ultimate goal is to promote the participation and integration of the Chinese community in Irish society.

Mandy is working alongside Éamon Ó'Cuív T.D for her six month placement.

Sophie O'Brien: How would you describe the last three months of your internship?
Mandy Lau: It’s been fantastic, I feel very proud of myself for what I have achieved over the past three months and how much I have learned. Not everyone gets this opportunity and I am aware of just how lucky I am to have the experience of the past three months under my belt. 


Sophie: Have you met many interesting people during your time in Leinster House?
Mandy: Yes, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some big names in Leinster House. Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams, Rory Quinn, Joan Burton – all have been very warm and welcoming.


Sophie: What have you enjoyed most so far?

Mandy: I have been asked to do a lot of research and writing for Deputy Ó’Cuív on a number of topics. Because of his position as Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and Community Affairs, my impression was that he was only interested in these issues. I soon found out however that his interests were much broader and that I would be required to learn quickly about a number of different things! It has been a steep learning curve but one which I have very much enjoyed taking on.


Deputy Ó’Cuiv has really taken me under his wing, and I admire how he has tried to make my experience as rewarding as possible. I have had the opportunity to accompany him to almost all his meetings which I didn’t expect. I particularly enjoyed sitting in on an interview he did with a journalist for a national newspaper and was impressed by the way in which he was able to maintain his composure so well in the face of difficult questions.


Sophie: What have been the most challenging aspects of the placement so far?
Mandy: The most challenging aspect of the placement has been balancing two jobs. My family own a restaurant in Co. Kildare and when I am not in Leinster House, I am working there. Another difficulty I stumbled across was the use of the Irish language. Deputy Ó’Cuív conducts most of his correspondence through Irish and when I first began my internship he said that I would have to learn the language over the next six months! Thankfully, he was joking.

Sophie: Do you feel you will stay connected to Irish politics after your placement is over?

Mandy: I will definitely stay connected to politics in one way or another after my internship. I may not run for election any time soon but I think it is important that I, like the entire migrant community in Ireland, should take an interest.


I get the sense that the Chinese community in Ireland view politics with a certain level of scepticism because of their experience in China. There, we have no choice, the political system is not representative and because of this, people become disillusioned and disinterested. We need to get involved to show politicians that migrants are like everyone else, we are educated and intelligent with so much to give.

 

Sophie O'Brien is the Programme Assistant for the OPD scheme

Black Africans Face Highest Levels of Discrimination in Workplace

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Black Africans face the highest levels of discrimination in the workplace, according to a new report.


The research carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Equality Authority found that black Africans are almost seven times more likely that white Irish people to face discriminatory behaviour in the workplace and when seeking employment.


This group are also four times more likely to be unemployed than white Irish people.


According to the report, migrants who arrived here during the recession were also more likely to face discrimination in comparison to their Irish counterparts.


“Discrimination remains an enormous challenge to Irish society. We need to strengthen our commitment to equality in Ireland as a key element of our strategy for economic recovery.
It remains the case that those most at risk of discrimination are least likely to know their rights. This research shows that knowing your rights makes a real difference and addressing this issue will be a particular challenge to the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission" said Chief Executive of the Equality Authority, Renee Dempsey.


The findings are based on the CSO’s 2010 Quarterly National Household Survey Equality Module which asked adults in Ireland about their experience of discrimination in a range of different situations.


The report also found that Asians and other ethnic groups are more likely to report discrimination in both work and some services than white Irish, although less likely than the black ethnic group.

The 45-64 year old group is more likely to report work-related discrimination, specifically in seeking employment.

People with a disability are more likely to report discrimination in services, particularly in health and transport.

Despite ‘significant levels’ of discrimination, the report found that only one in ten of those experiencing discrimination took formal or legal action in response.


Click here for the full report.
 

Ekow’s Story

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Biography
Ekow Agyeman Prempeh is originally from Ghana and now lives in Tyrrelstown Dublin 15 with his wife and three children. Ekow graduated with a first class honours in International Relations from Dublin City University and is set to begin a Masters in Development in 2013. Founder and Chairman of the Ireland Branch of the Ghanaian political party New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ekow has previously represented the Ireland Branch at the International Conference of the NPP in 2011. His experience includes voluntary work with Oxfam and interning with Schools without Borders, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting awareness on the realities of conflict between secondary schools in Ireland, Israel and Palestine. He is a patron of the Ghana Union in Ireland, and a member of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy based in Berlin.

Ekow has been matched with Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan for his six month internship.

Sophie O'Brien: Would people you know in the migrant community have much interest in Irish politics?

Ekow Agyeman Prempeh: My experience is that the migrant community is very distant from the political process. People are only interested in matters that affect their well-being such as migrant issues. There is a perception amongst migrants of ‘even if I try to get into politics, I won’t get there.’ We need to start spreading the word that it is possible for migrants to get into the seats of power. It is not about who you are; it is about what you have.

When I told people that I would be working in Leinster House they were really surprised. Why were people surprised you have to ask yourself… because they don’t think it is possible. I want to use this medium to spread the word that the door is not shut, that it is open to anyone who is interested and qualified.


Sophie: Did you have an interest in Irish politics before starting the scheme?

Ekow: Yes, I have been following Irish politics closely. I have been particularly drawn to some of the pivotal figures in Ireland’s political history – Eamon DeValera, Michael Collins, Daniel O’Connell – I have spent time reading and writing about all of them. Ireland and Ghana share many parallels which I have found fascinating. We have both suffered under colonial rule and have somewhat of a shared history in that respect.

Sophie: What were your reasons for applying for the scheme?


Ekow: I want to deepen my understanding of the art of politics. Some of the people in Leinster House have been there for many years so for me, it’s a great opportunity to tap into their experiences and to grow leap and bounds in understanding how the system works.

It is the good will of the Irish Government and people which has made this possible, to me this in invaluable. I therefore want to give back to Irish society what they have given to me and my family. 

Sophie: What have you most enjoyed since beginning the internship?


Ekow: I have found tremendous joy in seeing a glimpsing smile on the faces of Deputies even in the face of pressure and animosity. Whilst the phone rings incessantly, and the pressure it seems it unrelenting, Deputy Moynihan still manages to smile. This insight has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the placement.







 

Alfred’s Story

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Biography
Originally from Zambia, Alfred Hickey M'Sichili has lived in Ireland since 2002. After finishing his Masters in Political Philosophy from University College Cork (UCC), Alfred went on to complete a Doctorate in Global Political Economy and Economic Justice. Familiar with policy analysis and research, Alfred has worked as a Trade Policy and Campaigns Officer with Comhlámh where he was responsible for lobbying policy makers at national and EU level on trade and economic justice issues. Alfred has also worked as a policy intern with European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) focusing on EU social and economic policy in the areas of growth, employment, poverty eradication and social exclusion.

Alfred is working alongside Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle for his six month internship.

 

Sophie O’Brien: Can you tell me a bit about your background?

Alfred M’Sichili: I originally came to Ireland in 2002 to study. In Zambia, I was completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy when my lecturer, who was from Cork, told me about the Masters in UCC. After finishing the Masters, I began a Doctorate in UCC focusing on Global Economic Justice which took seven years to complete.

After the Doctorate I began work with Comlámh as a Trade and Campaigns Officer, working in the area of EU Trade and Investment Policy & Economic Justice. I met my wife in 2005 when studying in UCC...so what was supposed to be a one year trip to Ireland turned out to be a lot more permanent!

Sophie: What were your first impressions of Ireland when you arrived?

Alfred: The rain! The weather was a real shock. When I first arrived I asked my lecturer in Cork ‘what sort of crime must I have committed to deserve this weather.’

On a serious note, I was immediately struck by the proliferation of negative views about Africa being fed to Irish society through the media. All you see are images of starving children and famine stricken lands. I thought to myself, there is something wrong with that and that perceptions needed to be changed.


Sophie: What interested you about the OPD scheme?

Alfred: As a Zambian happily living in Ireland I’m eager to see the current political system reflecting the rich diversity present in Irish society today. The population of foreign born nationals has increased in recent years and many are making positive contributions in wide areas of the economy and society including business, finance, education, healthcare, the arts, culture and tourism. The international experience and business and political networks in their countries of birth that these new comers bring can provide an invaluable edge to Ireland in a fiercely competitive global economy. In taking part in the scheme, I hope to learn more about the Irish political system and showcase some of the rich contributions that foreign born nationals resident here can bring to our political system.

There are certainly beliefs within the political system which need to be challenged. In this sense, I see myself as playing somewhat of an ambassadorial role for the migrant community and am eager to overturn some of those views.  It’s about normalizing the idea of migrant participation in the Irish political system. 

Sophie: Do you foresee any challenges during the internship?

Alfred: As a student in Cork I lived quite a sheltered life and was not exposed to the prejudice that I sometimes encounter in society. I think constituency work may be a bit of a challenge for me but one that I am looking forward to taking on. I want to see that my encounters with prejudiced views are not representative of the wider community…I too hold perceptions which I would like to see challenged.

Sophie: What do you hope to take away from it?

Alfred: I have three aims: Firstly, I am eager to use my experience to disseminate information on in the Irish political system to the wider migrant community in the hope of galvanising increased interest and participation. Secondly, I want to play an ambassadorial role as I know that I am not just representing myself but also the wider migrant community. Lastly, I do not want to disappoint Andrew Doyle, I aim to work hard and hope that I can make a meaningful contribution to his work as a TD.

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the OPD scheme



 

Cork survey: African migrants more likely to be victims of racism

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A new survey has found that over half of Cork’s migrant residents believe racism is an issue in Cork, with migrants of African origin most likely to be the victim of racially motivated attacks.


The report ‘Stop the Silence: A Snapshot of Racism in Cork’ published by Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre surveyed 171 people during October 2012.


38.5% of respondents stated that they had experienced discrimination whilst engaging with service providers, making this the area where respondents were discriminated the most.


The survey revealed that 45% of the people surveyed have experienced discrimination in at least one area of their everyday life. Housing and employment continue to be the areas where migrants are heavily discriminated against.  


Whilst experiences of discrimination are high, the report found that it is severely under-reported by victims, with 82.8% of respondents noting that they had not reported the incident.


Nasc CEO Fiona Finn said the report highlighted the need for a multi-faceted response to tackling racism, including training for Gardaí and the judiciary, changes in legislation and funding for community initiatives to build awareness of racist reporting.


Click here for the full report

Call for applicants for 3rd round of scheme

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Following the successful launch of the Opening Power to Diversity (OPD) scheme earlier this year, we are now accepting applications for the third term of this ground breaking initiative which will run for six months from April 2013. The 'Opening Power to Diversity' scheme which was recently endorsed by the Taoiseach, will match volunteer migrants with a number of TDs. Over a six month period beginning in April 2013 migrants will get a unique and valuable experience and insight into how politics works in Ireland by observing and assisting the TD in his/her daily work.

Role Description: The migrant participant will follow the work of the TD during the day and participate in the activities of his/her office. Migrants will use their skills while getting involved in the TD’s activities, they will attend various meetings with TDs and observe at Committee meetings and Dáil sessions. Migrants will also get involved in the work of the TD’s office at Leinster House and constituency level.  Migrants will also be expected to keep a weekly written or video diary of their experiences and input into CMP’s policy team at the end of the scheme. Orientation and on-going support will be provided by CMP.


Time commitment: Two days a week over a six month period, excluding time spent on the diary. The six month period will start in April 2013.

Applicant requirements: The initiative is focused on non-EEA nationals or non-EEA nationals who have recently become Irish citizens1.

Essential:
Applicants will need to be good written and verbal communicators. It is also essential that applicants have an interest in politics at some level. Reliability and commitment to the aims of the scheme are essential along with an ability to work well under pressure and an ability to use initiative. An ability to work well in a team is also essential.


Desirable: 
Skills and/or experience in the following areas would be desirable:
Research, community work, office administration, Information Technology, any relevant educational or work experience related to politics. Particular subject expertise or interests may also be relevant.

Application process:
Please e-mail your CV as an attachment to Sophie O’Brien at sophieobrien@crosscare.ie with an attached letter of application that includes an answer to the following question: Why do you want to participate in the Opening Power to Diversity scheme? Max 300 words.  Please include details of references.


There is no financial remuneration for participation in this scheme and there is no expectation of paid employment with the TD at the end of the six month placement. The placements will start in April 2013.


For more information on the OPD scheme, testimonials of participating migrants and endorsements from both the Taoiseach and Tanaiste click here


Closing date for applications: Friday January 18th 2013 
 

1 Applicants need to have legal permission to reside in the state and either have a Stamp 1, 3, 4 or 5 or be recently naturalised Irish citizens.

Amy’s Story

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 Biography
Originally from China, Amy first came to Ireland in the late 1990’s with ambitions of developing a career in the media thanks to her mother and grandfather, both of whom worked as journalists. Now a naturalised Irish citizen, she lives in Terenure and runs a successful consultancy business. Through her business and involvement in events such as the Shanghai World Exposition in 2010, as well as the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival Committee, Amy is active in fostering relations between her native China and her adopted home.

Amy participated in the first round of the scheme and was placed Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello TD from February 2012 to July 2012.

Sophie O’Brien: Can you mention some highpoints of your time on the scheme?
Amy Yin Zhang:
I was immediately brought on board by Minister Costello and was closely involved in all aspects of his work. On my second day, I attended a Human Rights Forum which consisted of several NGOs, various resident ambassadors, and many government officials. It was here that I had a brief opportunity to liaise with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, which was a real highlight.


Overall, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the scheme was that I felt like I was part of a big family. I never felt left out or that Minister Costello and his staff treated me any different. Before every meeting, he would introduce me and say ‘this is Amy; she’s here to look after me.’

Sophie: What did you observe during your time at the constituency office?
Amy: As a local TD for Dublin Central, Minister Costello is known to all his constituents as Joe. Sometimes I think it is interesting how one minute people call him Minister, and the next, they refer to him by his first name!


He has an excellent relationship with his constituents who generally request to speak with Minister Costello himself about whatever issue they might have. There are a number of clinics in his constituency and I had the opportunity to observe a few Phibsborough clinic sessions which take place on Friday mornings. Minister Costello listens patiently to his constituents’ queries and complaints, in person or over the phone treating every written letter carefully. It was great to see such attentiveness.

Sophie: Has it changed your perceptions of politics?
Amy: I now see the work that politicians do in a very different light. Minister Costello doesn’t have any time for himself - he doesn’t eat and he doesn’t sleep. So if I wanted to be half as good as him I wouldn’t have a life!


Sophie: What have you taken away from the scheme?

Amy: I feel privileged to have interned with Minister Costello during both his Ministerial and Constituency duties. From meeting with the Tánaiste at the Dublin Castle NGO forum on the second day, to meeting with the former president of Ireland at her seminar the same week, I was more than thrilled with these unexpected encounters with the most important people in the country.


Every hand shake, every smile, every nod and every word I received filled me with the sentiments of encouragement, motivation and pride for both myself and the Chinese community in Ireland.


Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant with the Opening Power to Diversity scheme


 

Migrants are Vital to Irish Economy

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Migrant workers continue to play crucial part in Ireland’s economy, irrespective of the current economic downturn, a new report has found. 


The research commissioned by the Integration Centre and conducted by economist Jim Power reveals that migrants make a valuable contribution to the Irish economy and could be the key to the country flourishing again.


“The bulk of evidence at both the international and domestic level indicates clearly the economic and financial benefits that migration provides for the host country, the country of origin and the migrants themselves.”

“Immigrants bring new skills with them, they help satisfy labour shortages, and contribute to greater flexibility in the labour market” it said.

The report found that on-going shortages particularly in the areas of languages and technology mean that continued migrant participation is essential for the health of these sectors.

According to the report, debates on the issue of migrants within states where inward migration is significant, usually overestimate the cost of migrants on the economy and underestimate the benefit.

“A better informed debate on immigration is essential in every country, but particularly in a country like Ireland that historically has seen significant levels of outward migration, and in more recent times, significant levels of inward migration.”

The author of the report states that it is incumbent on Irish policy makers to ensure that the contribution made by migrant workers is maximised.

Amongst other recommendations, the report calls for the creation of statutory legislation for family reunification for non-EU workers, increased attention to fostering ethnic entrepreneurialism and the introduction of increased diversity and anti-racism measures within workplaces.

Click here for full report



 

Erica’s Story

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Biography
Since coming to Ireland almost a decade ago from Ghana, Erica has been involved in various community based organisations committed to promoting integration, diversity and multi-culturalism in both Donegal and Dublin. A Community Health worker with Cairde, Erica lives in Lucan with her three sons where she is a member of the South Dublin Migrant Integration Forum.  During her time in Donegal she presented a programme on Highland radio called ‘Voice of Africa’ and graduated from the Letterkenny Institute of Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Community Studies. Her interest in raising awareness of cultural diversity and promoting social inclusion of minority groups prompted her to become involved in the Opening Power to Diversity scheme. 

Erica was placed with Senator Averil Power for her six month internship.

Sophie O'Brien: What were your first impressions from the scheme?
Erica Birch-Abban: Senator Averil Power was so friendly and down to earth and I was immediately struck by her impressive resume and strong convictions. I had read an article charting the Senator’s rise from a family of five in a small council house in Shankill. This reassured me that politics is not only the preserve of political dynasties but to all who believe in making a difference in bringing about social justice.

Sophie: What was a typical day like in the office?
Erica: Tasks included anything from updating the constituents’ database, arranging meetings and dealing with local authorities, advocating on behalf of constituents and liaising with community welfare officers. I also spent a lot of time researching and gathering materials for press releases and briefings and on occasion, attended functions with Averil. The tasks were certainly many and varied! 

Sophie: What did you enjoy most about the scheme?
Erica: There was pride in going to work. My kids would say, ‘My mum works in the Leinster House.’ It was a great experience. On a personal level, I had huge admiration for Averil. She went through the challenges of life and rose to where she is now. This kind of achievement is inspiring.

Sophie: What did you learn from the scheme?
Erica: Politics is not as dirty as I thought it to be after all – at least, not the vast majority. Politics is a serious business that requires a high level of alertness, tact, commitment, inner strength, toughness and a sense of humour.  I have learned that a genuine politician is one that has the people’s interests at heart. One has to relate to the people at the grassroots level in order to know what their real issues are, a skill that Averil masters in.

If I thought before that my work was very busy, I retract that statement because now, I have had the experience of working in one of the busiest environments on the Island of Ireland. It was an experience that I will cherish forever. You get to see people that you would usually read about in the Newspapers or see on Television. You get to actually mingle with them, have a chat and even share a joke.

Sophie: Would you consider entering politics in the future?
Erica: Absolutely! It might take some time to set the ball rolling but this experience has definitely given me more confidence, skills and insight.


SophieO'Brien is Programme Assistant for the Opening Power to Diversity scheme
 

Half of TDs say migrants should have right to vote.

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A new survey has shown that almost half (48 per cent) of TD’s believe that migrants who have been resident in Ireland for three years or longer, should have the right to vote in General Elections. This is a 32% increase on 2011 when the same survey was conducted.


According to the survey which was carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne and co-authored by the Integration Centre, there has been an increase in TDs who said that racial incidents have become more prevalent since the economic down-turn, rising from 38 per cent - 45 per cent.


More than half (52 per cent) of TDs reported speaking about migrant rights in the Dail, an increase of 22 per cent from the previous year’s results.


The survey also showed that 39 per cent of TDs believe that it is the responsibility of the National Government to take charge of integration strategies, whilst 37 per cent believe that it is the responsibility of Local Authorities.


Almost half (48 per cent) believe that the Department of Justice is not the appropriate department for dealing with integration issues, up 34 per cent from the previous year.


The survey received a 43 per cent response rate, with 71 of the 166 TDs agreeing to participate.
 

143% Increase in number of non-Irish nationals living in Ireland

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A new report from the Central Statistics Office shows a 143% increase in the number of non-Irish Nationals living in Ireland since 2002. The report which is derived from census figures, presents a profile of non-Irish nationals living in Ireland in April 2011.

The report reveals that there were a total of 544,357 non-Irish nationals living in Ireland, representing 199 different nations. This is compared to 2002 where there were only 224,261 non-Irish nationals resident.

According to the report, Galway City is the most multi-cultural with 19.4% of its residents recorded as non-Irish. In terms of absolute numbers, the administrative counties of Dublin City (88,038), Fingal (49,517) and Cork County (42,886) had the highest numbers of non-Irish residents.

In April 2011, there were 268,180 non-Irish nationals at work in Ireland representing 15.1% of the work force. Polish and UK nationals accounted for 43.4% of these numbers while the remaining 151,805 workers came from a total of 185 different nations.

There were 49,915 non-Irish students and pupils aged 15 and over in 2011. The largest nationality groups were: UK (8,277), Polish (4,586), Chinese (3,533) and Nigerian (2,860).

The census results show that of the 53,267 persons who arrived in Ireland in the year prior to April 2011, 33,340 were non-Irish nationals. Most of the arrivals were of European ethnicity with Polish as the largest number (4,112) followed by UK nationals (4,072). Over two thirds were between the ages of 15 and 34.

The full report is available here.
 

Adaku’s Story

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About Adaku Ezeudo

 Adaku Ezeudo emigrated from Nigeria in 2000 and now lives in Clonee with her three children. After a number of years of working as a Fund Accountant with International Fund Services in Dublin, she has recently completed a Masters in Development Studies at Kimmage Development Studies Centre. In addition to volunteering with Saint Vincent De Paul on a regular basis, Adaku also acts as a group coordinator with ‘Women’s Space’, a monthly networking platform for migrant women organised by New Communities Partnership. As a newly naturalised Irish citizen, this scheme represented for Adaku a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the inner workings of Irish Politics while promoting the social inclusion of new Irish citizens.

Adaku began her internship in January of this year as part of the first round of placements. She was placed with Derek Keating TD for her six month internship.

 

Sophie O'Brien: Can you first tell me a bit about your background?

Adaku: I first came to Ireland in 2000. I had worked in the financial sector at home and had anticipated working in the same area when I arrived in Ireland. Whilst I had been working in the sector my whole career, I was never really happy. I started to realise that it wasn’t the career for me and that I needed to make a change. What would make me happy?" I asked myself and the answer that came to me was "making other people happy." This was the impetus to start a Masters in Development Studies in Kimmage and to volunteer with the various community organisations I am now involved with.

 

Sophie: What was your impression of Ireland when you first arrived?

Adaku: When I first arrived I stayed with a Nigerian couple and the first thing that struck me was how quiet it was! Where I come from it is so noisy all the time so that was something I found strange at first. There are other elements of Irish culture that I immediately warmed to. To see parents hugging and kissing their children at the school gates was really unusual for me because this would not be the custom in Nigeria, I loved seeing that emotion.

 

Sophie: Did you have an idea of what Irish politics was like?

Adaku: Nigerian politics is male-dominated and flooded with corruption so this was my perception of politics when I arrived in Ireland. The internship really changed my mind on a number of fronts. I saw that politicians are accountable and they do work for the people. Before starting the scheme, I would have seen politicians as very serious minded people with no sense of humour. What surprised me most was how warm the politicians and staff in Leinster House were. There was a real feel good factor to the whole experience… I felt like a star going into Leinster House! Everyone was so friendly, particularly the ushers. Every day they would greet me at the gate and we would chat about everyday things. On my last day, every one was hugging me goodbye!

 

Sophie: What were the most rewarding aspects of the placement?

Adaku: Developing a rapport with the constituents was one of the most rewarding parts of my experience. Some constituents even began asking for me by name, which was a real compliment and demonstrated to me that I had gained their confidence and gratitude. The process enabled me re-discover myself and my passion for humanity. I have always wanted to reach out, touch lives and put a smile on people’s faces. Giving a listening ear, resolving pressing issues and hearing the smile from the client’s voice gave me a real sense of fulfilment and motivation.

 

Sophie: What do you feel you took away from your internship?

Adaku: The scheme was the first of its kind so I saw it as a unique opportunity to be part of something special. Migrant communities in Ireland are so distant from the political process; the scheme was offering a chance to gain insight and knowledge of the Irish political system so I grabbed hold of it with both hands. I saw it as an opportunity to showcase the migrant community to politicians. I wanted to show them that migrants are talented, educated and capable like anyone else and that we have a lot to offer.

I feel I am more open-minded now. I was quite sceptical of politics before my placement because of what I had experienced in Nigeria. I have more respect now because I see how hard TDs work and how engaged they are with their communities. TDs know everyone in their community by name and what they do. It’s very impressive and I don’t know if I would be able to achieve that.

 

Sophie: What advice would you give to those who are starting the second round?

Adaku: It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity which should be grabbed with both hands. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be flexible and be friendly because all eyes are on you!

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the Opening Power to Diversity scheme.

Evans’ Story

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About Evan Shirihuru

 As a journalist and political sceptic, for Evans Shirihuru this experience was about gaining an insight into the Irish political system. Originally from Zimbabwe, he is acutely aware of the impact political decisions have on the everyday lives of people. Having resided in Ireland since 2007, he believes there is a necessity for increased dialogue between migrants and policy makers, as while the majority of the electorate only interact with the political system during elections, those without voting rights do so even less. Settled in Navan with his family, he has written on a freelance basis for Meath Post and Metro Éireann. As a participant of Near FM’s intercultural project he has also presented a number of radio programmes on the subject of interculturalism.

Evans was placed with Maureen O’Sullivan TD for his six month placement.

 

Sophie O'Brien: How did you feel on the first day of the placement?

Evans Shirihuru: My first day was almost like my first day at school but I need not have worried as everyone was very welcoming and supportive. I had to contain my excitement as I was shown into the Dáil chamber to observe the Tánaiste in the hot seat! To someone such as me it was like magic and I now ritually watch the debates for half an hour once a week.

 

Sophie: What are the most memorable moments from the placement?

Evans: I attended a number of conferences including the YPAR (Young People at Risk) Conference at Clonliffe College in Dublin. Maureen O’Sullivan was Chair of the session on Education and it was eye opening for me because I was not aware of many of the difficulties faced by young people. Some of their stories were especially emotive and I was struck by the number of different groups dedicated to supporting vulnerable young people in Ireland. Another of my favourite activities involved attending Committee Meetings and it was fascinating to see officials responding to public scrutiny. The importance of this was not lost on me as each policy that is discussed has a bearing on our lives and I have resolved to take time to participate in such initiatives.

 

Sophie: Did your placement change your mind about anything?

Evans: When it comes to politics I would have labelled myself a cynic, yet my impression of the TDs I have encountered to date is one of integrity and hard work. It amazes me that they are involved in everything from constituency work to complex issues such as housing and social welfare. I have grown to appreciate how strenuous their workload is. This opportunity has challenged my preconceptions about how removed politicians are from us, the public, and I have come to appreciate that the vast majority are dedicated to making a difference in our everyday lives.

 

Sophie: What was the most enjoyable aspect of the internship?

Evans: For me it was the sense that it was changing people’s perceptions of migrants within the political establishment. Even though TDs are always very busy running from meeting to meeting, they would take the time to greet me and compliment me on what I was doing. At first I thought it might have been a bit patronising but I soon realised that it was coming from the heart.

 

Sophie: What would you say to those who starting the second round of the scheme?

Evans: Go for it, it will be the best six months of your life!

 

Sophie O'Brien is Programme Assistant for the Opening Power to Diversity scheme.

About the Scheme

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The OPD Scheme

Crosscare have launched a ground breaking initiative for migrant political integration. The Opening Power to Diversity scheme sees people from migrant communities in Ireland matched with a particular TD for a six month internship. Over the six months, the intern will work as a volunteer in the office of the TD where s/he will gain an invaluable insight into the workings of the Irish political system by assisting and observing the TD with their daily work.

The OPD scheme aims to give migrants and new Irish citizens a unique insight into the workings of the Irish political system, to increase awareness of Irish politics amongst the wider migrant community and to diversify the political system. We first piloted the scheme in January of this year and had an overwhelmingly positive response from both interns and TDs. In July, the Houses of the Oireachtas approved the continuation of the scheme and it was allocated an extra two places, meaning that now six TDs can participate. The six interns have recently begun their placements and are due to finish in March 2013.

The application process is closed for 2012 but will open again later in 2013 for the next round of placements.

 

Background

Levels of political participation are some of the key indicators of inclusion of various social groups. The EU has clearly marked participation in the democratic process as one of the basic principles of successful migrant integration. According to Census 2011 just under 12% of the population of Ireland is non-Irish. Increasingly our non-Irish residents are becoming Irish citizens.

Between January 2005 and June 2010 15,382 people became Irish citizens through naturalisation and as of October 2010 there were 21,500 applications for naturalisation awaiting decision. Irish citizens of migrant background are a growing group and part of Irish society. Levels of political representation and participation need to increase accordingly. The 2011 General Election saw a handful of new Irish citizens run for the Dáil – approximately 3 of the 564 people who ran for the 166 seats were naturalised Irish citizens. This is about half of one per cent of the candidates. While Ireland is at the early stages of its migrant integration story 0.5% is a percentage that needs to be improved upon significantly if Irish citizens of migrant background and migrant issues are to be represented at the central place of power in our society.

 

About Crosscare Migrant Project

Crosscare Migrant Project provides an information and advocacy service to over 3,000 migrants every year from its Dublin City base. We also aim to affect positive change in migration related policy. We continually draw from our experience of working with Irish emigrants abroad and we continue to work with prospective and returned Irish emigrants. This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Department of Justice & Equality and Pobal.

Newsletter Articles

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Participants’ Experiences

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Mireille Ndikumagenge

Mireille was placed with Martin Heydon TD, February - July 2015

'I have been exposed to so much in a short period of time than I could have imagined.'

Mireille's Diary


 

 

 

Jack Bwalya

Jack Bwalya was placed with Eamon Gilmore TD, February - July 2015

'As an African party politics enthusiast, the first-hand experience working as a political intern in the office of Deputy Gilmore was something I found quite interesting and eye opening.'

Jack's Diary


 

 

 

Rosemary Masinga

Rosemary Masinga was placed with MaryLou Mc Donald TD, February - July 2015

'The best thing for me about the internship is shadowing a female TD. I have always wondered how it is to be a woman involved in politics.'

Rosemary's diary

 


Michelle Manuel

Michelle Manuel was placed with Senator Marie Moloney February - July 2015

'To other prospective migrants/new Irish thinking about applying for the scheme I would say even if it is unpaid, nothing could substitute the experience. I am one happy person to have achieved this!'

Michelle's diary

 

 


Jing Farrelly

Jing Farrelly was placed with Denis Naughten TD, February - July 2015

'I was surprised at the amount and range of the topics that passed through my fingers'. 

Jing's diary



Charles Titus

Charles Titus was placed with Michael Creed TD

'I raised the issue and chipped in some strategy on how to embrace migrant communities, particularly African migrant community for the purposes of local/MEP elections'.

Charles' diary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Sheelan Yousefizadeh

Sheelan Yousefizadeh was placed with Marcella Corcorcan-Kennedy TD

'It was inspiring to learn about Marcella's background and what motivated her to get involved in politics'

Sheelan's diary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Larysa Karankovich

Larysa Karankovich was placed with Tony McLoughlin TD

'Reflecting back on my 6 months internship with Deputy Tony McLoughlin I can definitely say that it was one of the most significant and worthy experience professionally and personally'.

Larysa's diary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Peter Ozonyia

Peter Ozonyia was placed with Ann Phelan T.D. 

"I am increasingly developing the confidence that I believe could turn me into a politician in the future."

Peter's Diary


 

Tonye Olatunde

Tonye Olatude was placed with Robert Troy T.D.

“I would never have imagined that politicians invest so much time, effort, passion, intelligence, selflessness, and hard work into representing their constituents and managing the country.”

Tonye's Diary


 

Smret Kahsai

Smret Kahsai was placed with Mattie McGrath T.D.

“I enjoy working in his office as I am getting great exposure to how Irish politics works and the system in general.”


 

Petros Ogbazghi

Petros Ogbazghi was placed with Senator Jim Walsh

“What struck me here most was the immense political culture differences between Eritrea and Ireland."


 


Okezie Emuaga

Okezie Emuaga was placed with Noel Coonan T.D.

"I left for home with my mind drawn in several ways as I condensed all I had seen and heard. Whatever the case, I knew this will have little or no dull moments!"

Okezie's Diary


 

Gladys Otono Atsenokhai

Gladys Otono Atsenokhai was placed with David Stanton T.D.

“I was astounded by the amount of work that passes through a TD’s desk daily and the immense pressure to deliver both at constituency level and in the Dáil.”

Gladys' Diary


 

Mariam Ayeni-Salami

Mariam was placed with Anne Ferris T.D.

 “My first impression of walking through Leinster House was just sheer awe at the amount of history that has, is and will be made in this building.”

Mariam's Diary


 

Alfred M'Sichili

Alfred was placed with Andrew Doyle T.D.

"This has truely been an eye opener for me"

Alfred's Diary


 

Mandy Lau

Mandy was placed with Éamon Ó'Cuív T.D.

"From the bottom of my heart, I feel so proud and so lucky that I am one of the chosen ones. I am really looking forward to the rest of my internship with Deputy O'Cuiv."

Mandy's Diary


 

 

Ekow Agyeman Prempeh

Ekow was placed with Michael Moynihan T.D.

"My understanding of Irish politics in particular and the art of politics in itself have deepened and lengthened over my more than a month’s partnership with Deputy Michael Moynihan."

Ekow's Diary


 

 

Adelita Monteiro

Adelita was placed with Luke Ming Flanagan T.D.

"I have realised that politics is not as ‘scary’ and complicated as we might think. It is right there and in fact, very accessible."

Adelita's Diary


 

 

Voltaire Bicomong

Voltaire was placed with Áodhan Ó'Ríordáin T.D.

"Every Wednesday morning when I walk through the main portal along Kildare Street of Leinster House, proudly wearing my pass card, I cannot help but feel a certain kind of transformation"

Voltaire's Diary


 

Adaku Ezeudo and Derek Keating T.D.

Adaku Ezeudo

Adaku was placed with Derek Keating T.D.

"Struck at how quickly I felt at ease, I was more than happy to assist with some constituency work."

Adaku's Diary


 

Amy Yin Zhang and Joe Costello T.D.

Amy-Yin Zhang

Amy was placed with Minister Joe Costello

"I am made a very welcome member of the team and am relishing the work to date."

Amy's Diary


 

Erica Birch Abban and Senator Averil Power

Erica Birch-Abban

Erica was placed with Senator Averil Power

"The wait is over, I have officially started my placement at Leinster House."

Erica's Diary


 

Evans Shirihuru and Maureen O'Sullivan TD

Evans Shirihuru

Evans was placed with Maureen O'Sullivan T.D.

"It is not every day that you see your dreams fulfilled."

Evans' Diary

Politicians’ Endorsements

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Éamon Ó'Cuív T.D. – Fianna Fáil:

"I would like to endorse the internship scheme for politicians that Crosscare sponsored this year.  From my experience of the programme it gave a chance for politicians to have top quality motivated people work with them. It also gave the participating interns and politicians an opportunity to experience at first-hand other cultures.

From the interns point of view it is probably the best way to interest migrants in politics and Irish political and social life. My experience for the last six months has been totally positive, beneficial and educational.  I hope and trust it was equally beneficial to the excellent intern I had.” 

 

Derek Keating T.D. – Fine Gael:

"The Opening Power to Diversity scheme is an excellent scheme that has over time,  potential to make a significant  and positive impact not only on the lives of individuals migrants and migrant communities but also on social policy in Ireland by influencing political thinking and debate.

The capacity to promote migrant integration is considerable. Crosscare has managed to convince us of the benefits and have managed the complexity of placing an intern in a most professional manner. In particular by placing well motivated, highly skilled and willing to learn candidate with us.

Adaku is contributing in a very real and tangible way to our team. Her skills, experience, and personality have certainly added value to how we do our work.

Her skills coming from an Intercultural perspective have also highlighted our awareness not only to a changing Ireland but welcoming a new Ireland.

We are delighted to be involved with the OPD scheme which we will recommend should be extended to embrace many other cultures, It will in my view will go from strength to strength."

 

Senator Averil Power – Fianna Fáil:

"The Opening Power to Diversity (OPD) scheme is a great opportunity for people of migrant background and new Irish citizens to get involved in politics. It is a unique and valuable chance to gain insight into the day-to-day runnings of a parliamentary office. The programme not only benefits the intern, it also gives the Senator or TD an opportunity to improve their understanding of the culture and perspectives of the migrant community.

I had a very positive experience with the candidate I received from the OPD scheme. She worked in the office alongside my assistant and quickly became an invaluable member of our team. She was friendly and adaptable and her high level of skills and ability to perform a wide range of tasks was of great benefit.

The scheme was managed well. I had regular contact with the organisers and had no hesitation in contacting them if I had any questions. Overall my experience has been both positive and educational and I believe both myself and the intern benefited from it."


 

Minister of State Joe Costello T.D. - Labour:

"This scheme is an excellent initiative by Crosscare. By bringing people from new communities into the heart of the Irish political system the scheme provides an opportunity for members of the new communities to gain first-hand experience of our political system and allows them to contribute to the functioning of our democracy.
 
To my mind, it is crucial that the Irish political system fully engages, in a truly interactive manner, with our new communities. There is huge potential among our young migrant population and I believe that not only they, but we also, can benefit from their participation in schemes of this type.  

Crosscare were very proactive in their leadership of this scheme. Their commitment to the scheme ensured a quality experience for all involved.

Amy-Yin Zhang has been working in my Private and Constituency Offices for a number of months. She has shown herself to be an extremely capable, confident and enthusiastic young woman. Her eagerness to learn and unique perspective are particularly welcome. I can safely say that she has been a considerable asset to my Office." 

 

Maureen O'Sullivan T.D. – Independent:

"I was very happy to take part in, and support, The Opening Power to Diversity Scheme to give people from migrant backgrounds an opportunity to see the Irish political system in operation by spending time with a T.D. or Senator.  The scheme affords opportunities to sit in the Gallery in the Chamber for debates, attend committees and engage with other staff.
 
There was good interaction with Crosscare and I knew they were available if the need arose.

Evans worked in my office and I would like to compliment him on his efficiency, positive attitude and willingness to respond to the various requests and tasks. He worked away and, to use the cliche, nothing was too much for him. He could adapt to situations as they arose. He was always pleasant, courteous and attentive. Because of my own involvement with Development Aid issues it was good to have Evans' perspective."

Checklist for INIS and GNIB

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Checklist for making applications to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service

If you make an application to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) make sure to:

  • Keep a copy of all documentation you submit with your application
  • Send your application by registered post so that you have a record of sending the application
  • If you are sending your passport tell the post office so they can include this on your registered post receipt
  • Always send a cover letter quoting your Person ID (for example, 123456-12, Application number (for example, 1234567-CITZ-12) or Department Number (for example, 69/12345/00)
  • If you change address while you are waiting for a response from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service you should inform them in writing of your new address
  • Keep original letters you receive from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in a safe place. The INIS generally will not issue copies of letters.


At the Garda National Immigration Bureau or at the local Immigration Office

When you present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau or your local Immigration Office remember:

  • GNIB officials or local Immigration Officers are not there to provide information. Their main role is to endorse passports and issue GNIB cards
  • It is your right to ask to speak to a supervisor.

Citizenship FAQs

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1. Who can apply for Irish citizenship?

Non-EEA citizens can apply for Irish citizenship once they have had 5 years’ reckonable residency. Reckonable residency generally includes Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4 and Stamp 5. Adults should complete Form 8.

There are some exceptions:

  • Refugees can apply after 3 years’ residence in the State from the date they arrived in the country not from when they were granted their refugee status
  • Spouses/civil partners of Irish citizens can apply after they have been resident for three years in the country. They must also have been married to their Irish spouse/civil partner for 3 years.
  • Anyone applying based on Irish Associations can apply after 3 years in the country.
  • Irish Associations is when you are related by blood, affinity or adoption to an Irish citizen.
  • EU citizens can apply after 5 years’ residence in the country.

2. What documents do I need to provide for my citizenship application?

Every application should include the following:

  • A copy of the photo page of your current passport/travel document and previous passports. You need to send the original of your current and previous passports. They will be returned to you in 4 weeks. 
  • A certified copy of your original civil birth certificate and certified translation
  • 2 colour passport photographs taken within the last 30 days (signed and dated by the witness who signs your Statutory Declaration - page 14 of Form 8)
  • A copy of your GNIB card
  • Three different proofs of residence for each year of residence claimed (e.g. three proofs for 2016, three proofs for 2015 etc. Proof of residence can include bank statements, utility bills, mortgage/rent agreements, revenue letters, doctor's letters, letters from social welfare, letters from employment etc. 
  • Copies of your bank statements for all of your bank accounts for 3 out of the last 6 months
  • Copy of online residency checker (fill this out on the INIS website: www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Naturalisation_Residency_Calculator)
  • The Statutory Application Fee of €175

If you are working you should include the following:

  • A letter from your current employer stating when you started working for them
  • A copy of your P60s for each year of residence claimed
  • Copies of three recent pay slips in the last 6 months.


If you have refugee status you should also provide:

  • A copy of the letter confirming your refugee status

If you are the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen you should also provide:

  • Copy of documentary proof of your Irish spouse/civil partner’s entitlement to Irish citizenship, for example, birth certificate, certificate of naturalisation
  • Certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Sworn affidavit completed by your Irish spouse or civil partner (this is included in the application form)
  • Copies of 3 different proofs of address in Ireland in your name and your spouse/civil partner’s name for the 3 months before you make your application showing date, name and current address, for example, household bills, bank statements, documents from the tax office, mortgage agreement, letter from social welfare, letter from employment or doctor’s letter.


If you are applying based on Irish Associations you should also provide:

  • Certified copies of all documentation proving your Irish Associations, for example, birth certificate, marriage certificate.

3. My friend told me that I need a solicitor to stamp all of the documents. Is this true?

No. You need a solicitor to witness your signature on the Statutory Declaration and to certify the following documents:

  • A black and white copy of your original civil birth certificate and certified translation (for all applications, if you have a birth certificate)
  • A black and white copy of your marriage certificate/civil partnership registration (only for spouses/civil partners of Irish citizens)
  • Copies of documents proving your Irish Associations (only for applications under Irish Associations).
  • The witness must also sign and date the back of your two passport size photographs. 

4. How do I complete the Statutory Declaration?

You must take your completed application form to a solicitor, commissioner for oaths, notary public or peace commissioner. You should not fill out the Statutory Declaration before you go to the solicitor. You should to the following in front of the solicitor:

  1. Write your full name in box A1
  2. Sign your signature in box A2
  3. Write the date in box A3

The solicitor will complete the rest of the form. You can either be knows personally to the solicitor, be introduced to the solicitor by someone they already know or bring photographic proof of your identity.

Make sure that the date the solicitor writes on the Statutory Declaration (W4) is very clearly the same as the date you wrote in box A3. The date must include the day, month and year. If this is not clearly the same or if you have not written your full name in box A1 your application will be refused and you will not be refunded the application fee of €175.

5. I am 17 years old. My mother just got her citizenship. Can I also apply for citizenship?

No. You cannot apply for citizenship in your own right. Your mother can apply for you. She needs to complete Form 9 and submit this before you turn 18 years of age. You must have been resident in Ireland for 3 years before your mother can make this application.

6. I am 18 years old. My mother just got her citizenship. Can I also apply for citizenship?

You can apply if you have been living in Ireland for 5 years. Form 8 should be used. For time spent in Ireland as a minor your parent's residency may be used.

7. I recently got my Irish citizenship. My wife is living in Ireland for nearly 3 years. Can she apply for citizenship?

No. She must have been living in Ireland for 3 years before she applies. The time is based on her immigration stamps only.

She must also have one year continuous stamp on the date she applies. If there is any gap between her last immigration stamp and her current stamp then she might need to wait for another year before applying, for example, if she applies on 10th January 2018 then she will need to have an immigration stamp in her passport that is valid from 10th January 2017 until 10th January 2018.

8. My parents have Stamp 4. I am 22 years old. I have been living in Ireland since I was 14 years old. Can I apply for citizenship?

Yes. You can apply using Form 8. If you were granted Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A you can use these stamps to qualify for Irish citizenship as long as you originally came to Ireland to join your family. You should also provide letters from the schools you attended until you registered with the local Immigration Officer at the age of 16 and copies of your parent's permission to remain stamps for this period of time. You must make your application before you turn 24 years of age otherwise your Stamp 2/2A will not count towards your application.

9. My child was born in Ireland in 2006. I did not have 3 years’ reckonable residency for him to be in Irish citizen. Can I apply for citizenship for him now?

It might be possible if your child has been living in Ireland for 5 years and you have reckonable residency for example, Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4 or Stamp 5 for those 5 years if you are a non-EEA citizen. If this is the case then you can apply for Irish citizenship for him using Form 11.

10. If I was getting a social welfare payment in the past will this affect my application for Irish citizenship?

Each application is individual. The final decision is made by the Minister for Justice and Equality. Generally if you have received a payment based on your PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions (a benefit payment, for example, Jobseeker’s Benefit) then this probably won’t go against your application for citizenship.

If you received a payment that was not based on your PRSI contributions (an allowance payment, for example, Jobseeker’s Allowance) then this could affect your citizenship application.

11. If I have penalty points will this affect my application for Irish citizenship?

Each application is individual. The final decision is made by the Minister for Justice and Equality. You should include this information in Section 11 – Background of Form 8.

Remember if you don’t provide this information and it comes back on a Garda report then your application could be refused because you did not provide all necessary information.

12. I have two children. My first child was born outside Ireland and my youngest child was born in Ireland and is an Irish citizen. How do I apply for Irish citizenship for my eldest child?

You will first have to become an Irish citizen and then you can apply for your child as long as they are under 18 years of age. You will need to complete Form 9 once you become an Irish citizen. Otherwise, your child will have to wait until they are 18 years of age and apply for citizenship in their own right.

13. I do not have a birth certificate. Can I use a birth affidavit instead?

Yes. You should only use a birth affidavit if you never had a birth certificate or you cannot travel back to your country to get a birth certificate, for example, if you have refugee status.

14. Do I have to pay a fee when I send in my application?

Yes. There is a fee of €175. This is non-refundable. Your application can be refused if you:

  • Have not answered all of the questions on the form
  • Have not filled in your full name and signed the Statutory Declaration in the presence of a solicitor
  • Have not provided all of the required documentation
  • Have not submitted the fee of €175.

15. How should I pay the application fee of €175?

This must be paid by bank draft and should be made payable to the Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality. This fee is non-refundable. If your application is refused, this fee will not be returned to you.

16. Do the people who act as my references have to be born in Ireland?

No, but they must be Irish citizens.

17. Who can I ask to act as a reference for my citizenship application?

You can ask anyone who is an Irish citizen and who knows you, for example, your neighbour, your work colleague, your friends, your GP, the principal of your child’s school, your child’s teacher, the local priest.

18. Do I need to provide all of my addresses in Ireland?

You need to provide all of your addresses in the past 9 years. This could be in Ireland as well as abroad. If you are married to or the civil partner of an Irish citizen you should only provide your addresses for the last 5 years (both in Ireland and abroad).

19. How much does it cost to apply for Irish citizenship?

  • The standard fee for adults is €950 (plus the Statutory Application Fee of €175)
  • The standard fee for children under 18 years of age is €200 (plus the Statutory Application Fee of €175)
  • The fee for a person who was married to or the civil partner of an Irish citizen who has died is €200 (plus the Statutory Application Fee of €175). The person must not have become a naturalised citizen of another country since the death of their spouse/civil partner.
  • People with refugee status are only required to pay the Statutory Application Fee of €175.

20. I filled in the residency calculator at www.inis.gov.ie. It says that I have 5 years’ residency but that the year prior to application is not continuous. What does this mean?

This means that there is a gap between your immigration stamps in the last year. In order to apply for citizenship you must have one year continuous stamp in your passport, for example, if you apply on 10th January 2018 then you will need to have an immigration stamp in your passport that is valid from 10th January 2017 until 10th January 2018 or two stamps that overlap so there is no gap.

You will have to wait until you have a full year based only on your immigration stamp before you can apply for citizenship.

21. What happens after I submit my application for Irish citizenship?

Once you submit your application the Citizenship Section will check to make sure all the questions have been answered, that you meet the residency requirements and that you have included all of the required documents.
If everything is correct then you will be issued with an application number and your application will go into the queue for processing.
It is very important that you inform the Citizenship Section of any change in your address during the processing of your application.

22. I am an international student in Ireland. Can I apply for citizenship?

No. If you came to Ireland for the main purpose of studying here and you have Stamp 1A, Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A these stamps are not counted as reckonable residency for Irish citizenship.
If you have Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A and originally came to Ireland to join your family then these stamps are reckonable. See question 8 above.

23. When will my original passports be returned to me?

The Citizenship Section will usually keep your passports for a month and after checking them they will be returned to you. If you plan to travel around the time you submit your application it is better to wait until you return to Ireland and then submit your application.

Immigration FAQs

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1. I am a work permit holder. The company I work for closed down. My permit is still valid for another year. Can I work for another employer?

No. A work permit is only issued for the job and employer named on the permit. If you change employers you must first apply for a new work permit in order to work for another employer.

2. I am a work permit holder. I have been in Ireland for 4 years. My wife came to join me a year ago. Can she work in Ireland?

No. Your wife will have Stamp 3 permission to remain. Stamp 3 does not allow your wife to work in Ireland.

However, if your first work permit was issued before 1st June 2009 and you were married before that date then your wife could apply for a Spousal/Dependent work permit. The following requirements do not apply for Spousal/Dependent work permits:

  • Starting salary of €30,000
  • Labour market test (advertising the job through FAS/EURES and in local and national newspapers)
  • Ineligible job categories
  • Fee

If your permit was issued after 1st June 2009 then your wife will have to make a standard work permit application in order to work in Ireland.

3. I have Stamp 4 Long Term Residency. My husband has Stamp 3. I originally came to Ireland as a work permit holder. Can my husband change to Stamp 4?

No. After 5 years on Stamp 3 your husband can apply for Long Term Residency. The Long Term Residency that he will be granted is Stamp 3 for 5 years. He would not be granted Stamp 4 Long Term Residency.
If your husband was granted a Spousal/Dependent work permit and changed to Stamp 1 then after 5 years on Stamp 1 he could apply for Stamp 4 Long Term Residency.

4. I am on a student visa. My wife is a work permit holder. We got married recently. Can I change my immigration status?

Yes. You should go to your local Immigration Officer with your wife. You should bring the following documents: your marriage certificate, both of your passports, your wife’s current work permit and your P45 to prove that you are not working. Your immigration status will be changed to Stamp 3.

5. What is the difference between Stamp 4 and Stamp 5?

Stamp 4 can be issued for many different reasons, for example, refugee; spouse/partner of an Irish citizen; parent of an Irish child; humanitarian leave to remain. Depending on the type of Stamp 4 you have you may need to apply for a renewal of your permission to remain and provide more documents for this. However, if you have Stamp 4 Long Term Residency then you can automatically renew this at your local Immigration Office every 5 years.

Stamp 5 is a type of permanent residency and is valid based on your passport, for example, if your passport is valid for 10 years then your Stamp 5 will be valid for 10 years and your GNIB card will be issued for 10 years as well. You will need to send a full colour copy of your new passport and a full colour copy of your expired passport to the Without Condition Endorsement Section and a new Stamp 5 should be granted. You do not need to provide any further documents.

There is no difference in the rights and entitlements for people with Stamp 4 and Stamp 5.

6. What is the difference between Stamp 5 and Stamp 6?

Stamp 5 is a type of permanent residency and is also called ‘Without Condition as to Time’ endorsement. You can apply for this if you have 8 years of reckonable residency. Reckonable residency is generally Stamp 1, Stamp 3 or Stamp 4.

Stamp 6 is also called ‘Without Condition’ endorsement. It is for dual citizens. If you have Irish citizenship and citizenship of another country then you can apply for Stamp 6. The Stamp 6 is placed in your other national passport as evidence of your Irish citizenship. You will not be issued with a GNIB card because you are an Irish citizen.

7. How do I apply for Stamp 5?

You must have 8 years’ reckonable residency based on your immigration stamps to apply. Generally Stamp 1, 3 and 4 will be counted. If you have Stamp 4 you must wait until you have only 6 months left before applying. If you have Stamp 4 Long Term Residency you cannot apply for Stamp 5.

There is no application form. You should write a cover letter and provide the following documents: full colour copies of your current passport and previous passports, a copy of your current GNIB card and proof of your current address (for example, a utility bill).

You should send your application to the Without Condition Endorsement Section, INIS, 3rd Floor, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

8. How do I apply for Stamp 6?

There is no application form. You should write a cover letter and provide the following documents:

  • Your original Irish passport OR your original Irish certificate of naturalisation
  • Your original other national passport

You should send your application to the Without Condition Endorsement Section, INIS, 3rd Floor, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

9. I am a work permit holder. I would like to invite my parents to visit me in Ireland. What do they need to provide to apply for a visit visa?

They will need to fill out the online visa application form. They must complete a separate application form for each of them. The form is only available in English. There are information guides in different languages on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service’s (INIS) website.
They must prove that they will return to their country of residence and they must show that they (or you) have sufficient funds for their stay in Ireland. They will need to have travel insurance.
An up-to-date list of documents that must be provided with the application is available on the INIS website.
If you would like further information contact Crosscare Migrant Project.

10. I have Stamp 4 based on my marriage to an Irish citizen. My parents are coming to Ireland to visit me for 3 months. Is it possible for them to extend their stay in Ireland? Could they apply for Stamp 0?

No. A visit visa is only issued for a period of up to 3 months. Visits can only be extended in exceptional humanitarian circumstances, for example, if your parents were ill while in Ireland. In that situation they might be granted Stamp 0 but only for a specific period of time.

11. I am an Irish citizen. Can I apply for my husband to come to join me in Ireland?

Yes. However, Irish citizens do not have an automatic right to family reunification. If your husband is from a visa-required country then you will have to provide a relationship history with his visa application.
An up-to-date list of documents that must be provided with the application is available on the INIS website.
If you would like further information contact Crosscare Migrant Project or read our factsheet for family members of Irish citizens.

12. I recently became an Irish citizen. Can I apply for family reunification for my parents to come to live with me in Ireland?

Irish citizens do not have an automatic entitlement to family reunification. You can apply for your parents to join you in Ireland but they would need to prove that they are self-sufficient and will not be a financial burden on the State.

If you would like further information contact Crosscare Migrant Project or read our factsheet for family members of Irish citizens.

13. I would like to move to Ireland. I am a non-EEA national. How can I do this?

This will depend on how you would like to immigrate to Ireland. If you would like to visit Ireland as a tourist then this will depend on any agreement between Ireland and your country. You might be required to apply for a visa.

 If you would like to move to live in Ireland then there are certain requirements depending on whether you would like to study, work or join family members in Ireland. You should look at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service’s website to see what your immigration options might be. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service was established in 2005 in order to provide a ‘one stop shop’ in relation to asylum, immigration, citizenship and visas. For further information go to: www.inis.gov.ie.

14. I recently gave birth to my first child. She is an Irish citizen. I have Stamp 3 and my husband has long term residency. Can I change to Stamp 4?

Yes. Non-EEA parents of Irish citizen children are entitled to work and residency rights in Ireland following the European Court of Justice Ruling in the Zambrano case.

You should go to your local Immigration Officer with your daughter. You should bring your passport, your current GNIB card, your daughter’s Irish passport, your daughter’s original birth certificate and evidence of your address, for example, a utility bill.

The Immigration Officer can change your immigration status to Stamp 4. If they cannot do this they might ask you to complete an application form and send this to the Residence Division Unit 4 in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

Go to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service’s website for further information: www.inis.gov.ie.

15. I am a work permit holder. I have had work permits for 5 years. Can I change to Stamp 4?

Yes. If you have held work permits for 5 consecutive years you could apply for a temporary Stamp 4 that is valid for one year. However, if you have any gaps between your immigration stamps of more than 6 months then you may not qualify for this Stamp 4.

You can also apply for Long Term Residency (Stamp 4) when you have 60 months’ residency. The 60 months’ residency is based only on your immigration stamps and not on your work permits.

16. Who can apply for Long Term Residency?

Applications for Long Term Residency in Ireland are currently processed as an administrative scheme. People who have been legally resident in the State for a minimum of five years (i.e. 60 months) on the basis of work permit/work authorisation/working visa conditions may apply for Long Term Residency.

17. I have Business Permission. Can I apply for Long Term Residency?

No. At the moment it is not possible for holders of Business Permission to apply for Long Term Residency. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service are reviewing this.

18. How do I apply for Long Term Residency?

There is no application form. You should write a cover letter providing a list of your immigration stamps since you came to Ireland. You should also provide the following documents:

  • Copies of all your work permits
  • A copy of your current GNIB card
  • Copies of all your passports since arriving in the country.

You should send your application to: Long Term Residency Section, PO Box 12079, Dublin 1.

19. I have a student visa. I have been in a relationship with an EU citizen for 3 years. Can I apply for Stamp 4?

Yes. You can apply for a residence card based on being the family member of an EU citizen.

Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (the "Directive") is given effect in Ireland by the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 (the "Regulations").

The Directive and Regulations applies to citizens of the European Union, citizens of EEA member states and citizens of Switzerland who move to or reside in another EU Member State other than that of which they are a national, and to their family members who accompany or join them.

It is very important that your EU citizen partner is exercising their EU Treaty Rights. This means that they must be employed, self-employed, registered as a student with comprehensive health insurance or have sufficient funds to support the family.

You should complete the EU1 form and submit this along with the required documentation to the EU Treaty Rights Unit, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. You should also provide documentary evidence of your relationship; for example, joint utility bills, joint tenancy agreement, photos, phone records. The EU Treaty Rights Unit will usually look for proof of a two year relationship.

Generally after your application has been submitted the EU Treaty Rights Unit will write to you and advise you to go to the local Immigration Officer to get a temporary Stamp 4 permission for 6 months.

The processing time for this application is approximately 9 months.

20. I have a student visa. I have been in a relationship with an Irish citizen for 2 years. Can I apply for a change in my immigration status?

Yes. You will need to prove that you have been in a relationship with your Irish citizen partner and living together for at least 2 years and have documentary proof of the relationship (in Ireland and abroad), for example, joint utility bills, joint tenancy agreement, photos, phone records.

There is no application form. You should write a cover letter giving details of your immigration history in the country as well as your relationship history. This application should be submitted to the De Facto Relationship Unit, Residence Division, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, PO Box 12695, Dublin 2.

You must be able to show a start date for the relationship based on the documentary evidence you provide. For further information read out factsheet for partners of Irish citizens.

21. My child was born in Ireland. Can I apply for an Irish passport for her?

Since 1st January 2005 every child born in Ireland is not automatically an Irish citizen. The residency of the child’s parents is taken into consideration. If neither of the parents is an Irish citizen then at least one of the parents must have 3 years’ reckonable residency before the child was born. Reckonable residency generally includes Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4 and Stamp 5.

The same applies to EEA citizen parents. They must be able to prove that they have been resident in the State for 3 years or more before the birth of their child. They must also sign a declaration to confirm this in the presence of an authorised witness.

For further information visit the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=263.

22. I am a work permit holder. I have two children and I would like to bring them to Ireland. What are the requirements for this?

You must have been working for 12 months on a work permit and you must earn above the limit that would qualify your family for the Family Income Supplement. The Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax free payment for people on low-pay. The income limits are:

If you have: You will qualify for FIS if your weekly family income is less than:

  • 1 child   €511
  • 2 children  €612
  • 3 children  €713
  • 4 children  €834
  • 5 children  €960
  • 6 children  €1076
  • 7 children  €1212
  • 8 children  €1308

An up-to-date list of documents that must be provided with the application is available on the INIS website.
If you would like further information contact Crosscare Migrant Project.

23. What is the Start-Up Entrepreneur Scheme?

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Scheme is for non-EEA nationals with an innovative business idea. Applicants must show they have access to €50,000 to invest in the business. If your application is approved you will be granted residency for 2 years to begin with. Afterwards you can apply to renew this for a further 3 years. Once you have completed 5 years you can renew your immigration status every 5 years.

The scheme is not for retail, personal services, catering or similar businesses.

For further information go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/New%20Programmes%20for%20Investors%20and%20Entrepreneurs or contact: investmentandstartup@justice.ie

24. What is the Immigrant Investor Programme?

The Immigrant Investor Programme is for non-EEA nationals who commit to an investment in Ireland.

If your application is approved you will be granted residency for 2 years to begin with. Afterwards you can apply to renew this for a further 3 years. Once you have completed 5 years you can renew your immigration status every 5 years.

For further information go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/New%20Programmes%20for%20Investors%20and%20Entrepreneurs or contact: investmentandstartup@justice.ie

25. I have Stamp 4 based on being the parent of an Irish Born Child. My daughter came to Ireland to join the family when she was 12 years old. She now has Stamp 4. She applied for a student grant but her application was refused. Why did this happen?

She is not eligible for a student grant because she has Stamp 4 based on your immigration status. For further information go to www.studentfinance.ie

26. I have Stamp 4 based on my spouse who is an Irish citizen. My son also has Stamp 4 based on being the dependent of his mother. He has been living in Ireland for 8 years. What fees would he need to pay for university in Ireland? Is he also eligible to apply for the student grant?

He should have to pay EU fees. If he becomes an Irish citizen before he begins his course at university then he would be eligible for ‘free fees’. He is eligible based on his immigration status to apply for the student grant because he has Stamp 4 based on being the dependent of an Irish citizen. For further information go to www.studentfinance.ie

27. I have Stamp 3 based on my spouse. Can I study in Ireland?

Yes, as long as the course does not involve a paid work placement, you can finance this yourself and you do not get any State supports.

28. I would like to come to Ireland to study. What are my study options?

Since January 2011 students are limited to studying in Ireland for a maximum of 7 years. Three years can be spent studying courses at Level 5 o 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Since January 2016 language students can only study for two years (three 8-month semesters).

After this you must move up to Level 7 or higher. You can study at this level for a total of 4 years. When you have completed 7 years of study you will be expected to leave the country because you will have completed your studies or you can transfer into the Graduate Scheme.

The Graduate Scheme is for students who get a qualification at Level 7 or higher on the National Framework of Qualifications. If you qualify at Level 7 you can get the Graduate Scheme for 6 months. If you qualify at Level 8 you can get the Graduate Scheme for 12 months.

29. I am a student in Ireland. Can I be self-employed?

No. Students are only entitled to work 20 hours during the term time as an employee and 40 hours during the holidays.

30. I am a student visa holder. Can I bring my child to Ireland?

No. It is the general policy of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service not to grant permission for family members of students to join them in Ireland.

31. My immigration status in Ireland is based on my spouse. We have separated. What can I do to renew my permission to remain in Ireland?

You will need to inform the local Immigration Officer if you are separated or divorced from your spouse.
Whether you can renew your status or not will depend on what type of immigration status you have. It may be possible to renew your immigration status independently.
Contact Crosscare Migrant Project for further information.

32. My immigration status in Ireland is based on my spouse. My spouse is violent towards me. What can I do?

You can contact a support organisation for people in violent or abusive relationships. If you are a woman you can contact your local women’s domestic service – for a full list of women’s domestic violence support organisations see: www.safeireland.ie. If you are a man you can contact Amen: www.amen.ie.
A domestic violence support organisation will provide you with practical and emotional support, information and advocacy.
You can report any physical or sexual attacks by your spouse to the Gardaí (police) and/or seek a civil protection order from the courts. A domestic violence support organisation can also give you information on this.
If you have been physically hurt you should go to a doctor or hospital to ensure your injuries are treated and documented.
You will need to inform the local Immigration Officer of the situation.
Contact Crosscare Migrant Project for further information.

Apply now for September 2015

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Applications for the Opening Power to Diversity (OPD) intern scheme for non-EU migrants and naturalised Irish citizens have now closed for this term. Current interns have started their six month internship which will end in March. New applications will be sought in the new year for the next round of internships.

Below describes the recruitment process for the scheme.

Endorsed by the Taoiseach the Opening Power to Diversity scheme will match volunteer migrants with TDs or Senators. Over a six month period participants will get a unique and valuable experience and insight into how politics works in Ireland by observing and assisting the TD/Senator in his/her daily work.  

Role Description: The participant will follow the work of the TD/Senator during the day and participate in the activities of his/her office. Migrants will use their skills while getting involved in the TD/Senator’s activities, they will attend various meetings with TDs/Senators and observe at Committee meetings and Dáil sessions. Participants will also get involved in the work of the TD’s office at Leinster House and constituency level.  Participants will also be expected to keep a weekly written or video diary of their experiences and participate in review exercises. Orientation and on-going support will be provided by CMP.

Time commitment: Two days a week over a six month period, excluding time spent on the diary. The six month period will start in September 2015.

Applicant requirements: The initiative is focused on non-EEA nationals or non-EEA nationals who have recently become Irish citizens1.

Essential: Applicants will need to be good written and verbal communicators. It is also essential that applicants have an interest in politics at some level. Reliability and commitment to the aims of the scheme are essential along with an ability to work well under pressure and an ability to use initiative. An ability to work well in a team is also essential.

Desirable:  Skills and/or experience in the following areas would be desirable:
Research, community work, office administration, Information Technology, any relevant educational or work experience related to politics. Particular subject expertise or interests may also be relevant. 3rd level education is a distinct advantage.

Application process:

  • Please e-mail your CV  with up to date references to migrantproject@crosscare.ie
  • Write 'OPD scheme' in the subject line of your e-mail
  • Attach a separate document that includes an answer to the question: Why do you want to participarte in the Opening Power to Diversity scheme? Max. 300 words

 

There is no financial remuneration for participation in this scheme and there is no expectation of paid employment with the TD/Senator at the end of the six month placement. There will be a limited fund to cover travel expenses. 

Click here for more information on the OPD scheme, testimonials of participating migrants and endorsements from both the Taoiseach and Tanaiste.

1 Applicants need to have legal permission to reside in the state and either have a Stamp 1, 3, 4, 5 or be naturalised Irish citizens.

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Department of Justice and Equality, and Pobal.

Reports & Media Coverage

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Reports

Click here for our first report on the Opening Power to Diversity Scheme, with participants' diaries and feedback from the TDs and Senators involved


Newsletters

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

February 2013

March 2013

 

Media Coverage

Below is some media coverage of the Opening Power to Diversity Scheme:

2014

Irish Times Article

2012/2013

Fingal Independent Article

Kildare Nationalist Article

Drivetime

Dublin People Column No. 1

Dublin People Column No. 2

Dublin People Column No. 3

Dublin People Column No. 4

Dublin People Column No. 5

Dublin People Column No. 6

Corkman Article

Cork Independent Article

Blanchardstown Gazette Article

Blanchardstown Community Newsletter

African Voice Article

Journal.ie Article

Bray People Article

Northside People Article

Near FM

2011

Interview on Newstalk

Interview on Phoenix FM

Irish times Article

African Voice Article

Sun Emerald Article

Testimonials

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Both politicians and participants have positively benefited from the Opening Power to Diversity scheme:

Click here to view some participating TDs endorsements

Click here to view some migrants/new Irish experiences

Click here to view endorsement from the Tánaiste

Click here to view endorsement from the Taoiseach

Click here to view endorsement from Micheál Martin

Description of the Scheme

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Introduction

Crosscare Migrant Project provides an information and advocacy service to over 3,000 migrants every year from its Dublin City base. We also aim to affect positive change in migration related policy. We continually draw from our experience of working with Irish emigrants abroad and we continue to work with prospective and returned Irish emigrants.

Background

Levels of political participation are some of the key indicators of inclusion of various social groups. The EU has clearly marked participation in the democratic process as one of the basic principles of successful migrant integration. According to Census 2011 just under 12% of the population of Ireland is non-Irish. Increasingly our non-Irish residents are becoming Irish citizens. Between January 2005 and June 2012 some 42,000 people became Irish citizens through naturalisation. Irish citizens of migrant background are a growing group and part of Irish society. Levels of political representation and participation need to increase accordingly.

The 2011 General Election saw a handful of new Irish citizens run for the Dáil – approximately 3 of the 564 people who ran for the 166 seats were naturalised Irish citizens. This is about half of one per cent of the candidates. While Ireland is at the early stages of its migrant integration story 0.5% is a percentage that needs to be improved upon significantly if Irish citizens of migrant background and migrant issues are to be represented at the central place of power in our society.

In response to this situation CMP is developing a scheme which will enhance the transparency of Irish politics for all and make it more accessible and meaningful to a marginalised and growing group of people that constitute 12% of the population of Ireland. The OPD Scheme Following on from recommendations of the report by the Africa Solidarity Centre in 2003 called Positive Politics and drawing from the example of an MP Shadowing Scheme that has been operating in the UK since 1999, with the support of the European Integration Fund Crosscare Migrant Project started up a TD Shadowing scheme for people with a migrant background - the Opening Power to Diversity Scheme (OPD Scheme).

How it works

Through the OPD scheme participants will get direct experience of the work of TDs. Participants will be matched with a particular TD for two days a week over a six month period. They will attend Committee meetings, Dáil sessions and where possible other meetings the TD holds as part of his/her immediate role in the Oireachtas. The participants will also be a part of the TDs office and will contribute actively to the work of the TD. Participants will also assist with constituency work. The six month period will usually encompass two Dáil terms. TDs from all parties and Independents will be targeted. This is a voluntary position and no financial remuneration is involved.

Selection criteria for the migrant participants

The participants involved will be people who:

  • are on a pathway towards Irish citizenship
  • or who may already be Irish citizens
  • are excellent communicators
  • can act as conduits to various migrant groups
  • with some knowledge of and a distinct interest in the political process
  • have specific skills than can be utilised and grown while working with the TD

Proposed impacts of the scheme

The ultimate aim of the scheme will be to help facilitate greater involvement in politics of people of migrant background. More particularly the impact of the OPD Scheme will be at three levels:

  • The direct experience for the participant and the variety of immediate benefits entailed in this such as an increased and unique knowledge of, connection with and insight into the political system
  • A stronger connection, understanding and sense of relevance of the political system among people of migrant background.
  • The promotion of diversity among politicians, the political establishment and society at large

For more information contact Danielle Mc Laughlin, Policy Officer, Crosscare Migrant Project, Cathedral St., Dublin 1. 01-8732844 and daniellemclaughlin@crosscare.ie

Opening Power to Diversity

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The Opening Power to Diversity scheme matches volunteer migrants and new Irish citizens with TDs.

Over a six month period the participants will get a unique and valuable experience and insight into how politics works in Ireland by observing and assisting the TD in his/her daily work.  

The OPD scheme also aims to generate greater understanding and interest in politics among people of migrant background. Ultimately the OPD scheme promotes diversity among politicians, the political establishment and society at large.

"I welcome the Opening Power to Diversity measure which is an innovative way to involve immigrants to our country in its political life. With the cooperation of the authorities in Leinster House and the TDs, the measure gives immigrant participants an inside look at our political system at a level which only a small minority of the public will ever experience.

I want to wish the project continued success and hope that all the participants will benefit individually as well as acting as a bridge to their wider communities."

Enda Kenny T.D.

Taoiseach

Site Map

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Conditions of Use

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ACCESS TO AND USE OF THIS WEB SITE ARE SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITIONS. PLEASE READ AND CONSIDER THEM CAREFULLY. BY PROCEEDING PAST THE HOME PAGE YOU AGREE TO COMPLY WITH THEM.

Prohibited jurisdictions

Receipt, viewing of and accessing the information found in this web site may be prohibited in some jurisdictions. This web site is provided solely for information purposes to browsers EXCEPT those prohibited by the law of their citizenship, residence, domicile or otherwise from receiving the information as presented in this web site.

If you are prohibited for the above reasons, please leave this site now. Should any individual accessing or viewing this web site have any uncertainty or doubts as to whether he or she can lawfully use the web site, then such individual should exit the site immediately.

Irish law applies

This website is provided according to and is governed by Irish law. By accessing or viewing any of the information provided in this website, you are accepting that Irish law applies to this website and that Irish courts have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute which may arise in any way in relation to this web site and its contents. If you choose not to accept the applicability of Irish law and the exclusive jurisdiction of Irish courts, please leave this website now.

Information purposes only

This website is provided for information purposes only. Information appearing in the pages of this website is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as and does not constitute an offer, invitation, representation or warranty by or on behalf of the Crosscare, The Migrant Project  or on behalf of any other parties to supply any product or service.

Browse at your own risk

Please note that you access and use this web site at your own risk. The Migrant Project or any other parties accept liability for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature including, but not limited, to indirect, incidental, special, punitive or consequential losses or damages, or for any expenses arising out of, or in connection with the use or inability to use this website, or in connection with any error, omission, defect, computer virus or system failure, or loss of any profit, business, contracts, revenue, anticipated savings, goodwill or reputation arising out of or in connection with the access of, use of, performance of, browsing in or linking to other websites from this website.

Browsers are advised that the information is subject to change and will be updated from time to time without notice been given to users. Browsers should note that the Migrant Project may at any time without giving notice to browsers shut down the website. Websites may be tampered with by unauthorised persons and accordingly, browsers should view the information provided as indicative only and subject to confirmation by our staff.

Browsers should review these terms and conditions of website use occasionally to stay informed of any changes.  All content is reviewed and approved for accuracy by the Migrant Project. While the Migrant Project believes they have made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained within is accurate and up-to-date, the information you access through the site is provided ‘as is’ and the Migrant Project cannot assume any legal liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions.

Email and other methods of transmitting information over the Internet are subject to interference or scrutiny by third parties and should be independently verified. The security and privacy of such communications cannot be assured by the Migrant Project and the risk of transmitting such communications lies entirely with the party supplying the information. Use of this website is entirely at the user’s own risk and the user assumes full responsibility and risk of loss resulting from the use of or access to the website and/or its contents.

In using the website you agree not to distribute, upload or transmit any pornographic, obscene, offensive or menacing materials, not to distribute, upload or transmit any pirated software or any copyright materials without the permission of the copyright holder, not to infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party, not to distribute or deliver any software virus or worms, not to distribute or deliver any data, material or information which is defamatory, false or which would infringe the proprietary rights of a third party and not to do anything in relation to the website which would constitute a criminal act.

Links to third party sites

This website contains links to third party websites. These linked sites are not under the control of the Migrant Project and the Migrant Project is not responsible or liable for the contents of any of these linked sites, including without limitation any link contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to a linked site. The Migrant Project  is not responsible for any form of transmission received from any linked site nor is the Migrant Project responsible if the linked site is not working properly. The Migrant Project  is  providing these links to you only as a convenience.

Copyright

The website and its contents are protected by copyright, database and other intellectual property law. The Migrant Project retains all rights, title and interest in and to, all intellectual property, data, text, images, software and other elements displayed on or distributed from the website unless otherwise specified. The contents of these pages may not be reproduced, in part or in whole, without the prior consent of the Migrant Project.

Dissemination by any person of the information contained in this website is strictly prohibited. The Migrant Project disclaims liability for any type of loss or damage which may be suffered by any person resulting from the dissemination or use of this website or any of its contents.

Material within the linked sites outside of this website may also have copyright restrictions and this should be checked on these websites should you plan to use their content in any way.

The Migrant Project is  committed to protecting your privacy. The Migrant Project endeavours to comply with its obligations under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 at all times.

Use of cookies

This website does not use cookies, apart from temporary "session" cookies which enable a visitor's web browser to remember which pages on this website have already been visited. A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user's hard drive while they are visiting a particular website. It contains simple information about the user's identity but no personal information. When the user closes their browser, the cookie is destroyed. You can set your computer not to accept cookies without a loss of functionality on this website.

Email

We receive and reply to email from users on a regular basis. For record-keeping purposes we retain copies of all incoming and outgoing email. Information in the email we receive and send will not be disclosed to any third party without the permission of the sender.

External links

The Migrant Project provides links to external websites. The Migrant Project has no control over the privacy policies of these sites and would encourage you to exercise discretion when providing information to such sites. We may make changes to this Privacy Policy from time to time. Updated versions will always be posted here. This version was updated in May 2010.

Disclaimer

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While every effort is made in preparing material for publication on this website, no responsibility is accepted by Crosscare or its agents for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages or on any site to which these pages connect. The information contained within this site is of a condensed and general nature only and can change from time to time. Users are advised to verify by direct and live contact with Crosscare any information on which they rely.

This site sometimes links to external sites over which Crosscare has no control and for which it accepts no responsibility.

Disclaimer: The content and views expressed on this site are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Pobal, the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, the European Commission or Crosscare Migrant Project.

Privacy Policy

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This statement relates to our privacy practices in connection with this site. We are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of any other linked sites.

The Living in Ireland website does not store or collect any personal information about site users. Any personal information which you choose to send to the Migrant Project via forms on the website will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 & 2003.

Cookies

This website does not use cookies, apart from temporary "session" cookies which enable a visitor's web browser to remember which pages on this website have already been visited. A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user's hard drive while they are visiting a particular website. It contains simple information about the user's identity but no personal information. When the user closes their browser, the cookie is destroyed. You can set your computer not to accept cookies without a loss of functionality on this website.

Log Files

Technical details in connection with visits to this website are logged for statistical purposes. No information is collected that could be used by us to identify website visitors. Our log records do not contain any personal information about users. Statistical information that is gathered does not constitute "personal data" for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 & 2003.

Accessibility

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The Migrant Policy on web accessibility requires that all our sites be at least minimally accessible to our visitors with disabilities.

Our definition of minimal accessibility is based upon the World Wide Web Consortium's guidelines "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" (WCAG). WCAG defines three levels of checkpoint priority. The site you are currently viewing has WAI-A compliance.

Graphics

Livinginireland.ie provides text equivalents for non-text elements. The ALT attribute is used on all images, and images are only used when necessary.

Colour

Livinginireland.ie does not rely upon colour.

The website designer's use of colored text or images to convey information is not the only way in which that information is conveyed. People who have difficulty identifying colour will still be able to use the site as other means of identifying heading etc. have also been used.

The web site relies heavily upon stylesheets for visual presentation. However, the pages can still be used without CSS.

Language

Livinginireland.ie uses plain, understandable English.

Tables

Livinginireland.ie ensures that table markup is only used for data tables.

For tables that express tabular information -- content laid out in columns and rows -- XHTML 1.0 Strict's features that associate cell content with column and row headers have been used.
 

Ireland Now

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Where can I find migrant-led groups?

The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration website have an up-to-date list of NGOs and other supports: http://www.integration.ie/website/omi/omiwebv6.nsf/page/usefullinks-irish-NonGovernmentalOrganisations-en


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English Classes

Check out further information on this website: http://www.livinginireland.ie/en/community/language

Fáilte Isteach: The Fáilte Isteach project involves older people volunteering their time to teach conversational English classes to new migrants who have come to Ireland from all over the world. The student-centered approach adopted by the programme provides basic language support in a practical, welcoming and inclusive manner: http://www.thirdageireland.ie/failte-isteach/

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Accessing information in various languages

The Rosetta Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered in Ireland working to provide equal access to information and knowledge across the languages of the world. It maintains the Translation Commons www.trommons.org matching non-profit translation projects and organisations with the skills and interests of volunteer translators across the world.

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What useful publications are available about living in Ireland?

Some of these publications might have out of date information - make sure to check with the organisation that developed them if you are making a decision based on the information

Ireland

At Home in Ireland – an integration guide for immigrant youth and parents. It is available in:

The ICCL Know Your Rights public information project is designed to inform people in clear and accessible language about their rights under various key areas of the law in Ireland: www.knowyourrights.ie


Clare

  • Welcome Pack for Immigrants to Co. Clare


General Information
Employment
Welfare Supports and Entitlements
Where I live
Education and training
Policing and legal issues
Health
Important Information

لمحة عامة
التوظيف
معونات وحقوق الرعاية
مكان السكن
التعليم والتدريب
التنظيم والمسائل القانونية
الصحة
معلومات هامة


Généralitiés
Travail
Prestations sociales et droits aux aides
Logement
Enseignement et formation
Police et questions juridiques
Santé
Informations importantes


Ogólne informacje
Zatrudnienie
Pomoc socjalna i świadczenia
Gdzie mieszkam
Edukacja i szkolenia
Przepisy i kwestie prawne
Zdrowie
Ważne informacje

Longford

Longford Town: A guide to key services in Longford Town

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Where can I find research and policy papers on immigration issues in Ireland?

Check out the latest publications from NGOs:


Check out the latest academic research:

  • The Trinity Immigration Initiative (TII) brings together key strands of TCD’s strategies in research, teaching and contribution to society, positioning the university to play an influential role in developing a more inclusive, multicultural society for Ireland’s future: http://www.tcd.ie/immigration
  • The Migration & Citizenship Research Initiative is located in the Humanities Institute of Ireland at UCD. It is a multi-disciplinary, cross-university and cross-sector research infrastructure and network that supports critically engaged research at national and international levels: http://www.ucd.ie/mcri

 

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Resources

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1. Immigration & Integration

The Living in Ireland Booklet was last published in 2009, therefore some of the information contained in the booklet has since been updated. You should check the relevant sections on the www.livinginireland.ie website and the relevant Government Departments for up to date information.  

You can download a pdf of each chapter of Living in Ireland booklet 2009 below:

2. Refugee

Crosscare Refugee Service has developed a leaflet for people with refugee status or subsidiary protection who have family members joining them in Ireland under the family reunification programme. It contains important information about how to access a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) and  register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). It also gives information on how to access social protection payments, housing, health, educational and employment supports. It was developed with the generous assistance of the Association of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Download here: Family Reunification Leaflet - Crosscare Refugee Service 01.2017

3. Housing & Homelessness

4. Social Welfare

5. Health & Wellbeing

In partnership with Dublin North City GP Training and Cairde, and funded by the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission, we have developed a number of resources around migrants access to health.  These resource will be uploaded in August 2017:

Migrant Health Care Module Handbook – training module for trainee GPs on the right to health for vulnerable migrants in Ireland.

Infographic poster on how to access primary healthcare services & supports in Ireland for display in GP clinics, health care centres & migrant support services. 

Information leaflet on what ‘Ordinarily Resident’ means and on migrant access to free or subsidised healthcare supports and services

News

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Living in Ireland on Newstalk

Please click the link below to listen to our interview on Newstalk

Newstalk Interview

Launch of Living in Ireland

Crosscare Migrant Project launched our Living in Ireland multi-language integration resource on 25th November 2009 at City Wall Space in the Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices.

Guest speaker at the event was Dil Wickremasinghe, Managing Director of Diversity and Equality Works.

The World Music Singers Group, a project of the Intercultural Centre also performed.

Conor Hickey, Dil Wickremasinghe at the launch

 

The crowd at the launch

 

The World Music Singers Group at the launch

 

Conor Hickey at the launch

 

Conor Hickey, Dil Wickramesinghe at the launch

 

Dil Wickramesinghe speaking at the launch

Contact

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We are moving offices from 2 Sackville Place to 1 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1.

 

Our drop-in service will be closed from Monday 31st July to Tuesday 15th August.

 

If your query is urgent please call 01 873 2844

 

Apologies for the inconvenience

 

Crosscare Migrant Project operates a service to migrants living in Ireland on issues such as:

  • Immigration status & citizenship
  • Work permits
  • Residence for family members

Opening times for the drop-in service are: 

Monday   Closed

Tuesday 10am - 4pm (Chinese Language Clinic 3pm -5pm)

Wednesday 10am - 1pm

Thursday 10am - 4pm (Chinese Language Clinic 10am-12pm)

Friday   Closed

T: + 353 (0)1 873 2844 
E: migrantproject@crosscare.ie

 

Crosscare Migrant Project drop-in service is at 1 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1

If you would like to find out more about the Living in Ireland project contact us at:

Living in Ireland
1 Cathedral Street,
Dublin 1

T:+ 353 (0)1 873 2844
F: +353 (0)1 872 7003

E: migrantproject@crosscare.ie

The Political System & Voting

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How is Ireland governed?

Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. The National Parliament (Oireachtas) consists of the President and two Houses: Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate) whose functions and powers come from the Constitution of Ireland. The Houses of the Oireachtas are situated at Leinster House, Dublin.

Information about the Oireachtas is available in detail at: www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/

The President (Uachtarán na hÉireann) exercises his/her powers on the advice of the government. The President also has absolute discretion in certain matters, for example, referring a Bill to the Supreme Court for a judgment on its constitutionality. The President is elected directly by the people every 7 years. The current president is Michael D. Higgins. For more details about the presidency go to www.president.ie

The method of election to each House is different. The Seanad is largely an advisory body. It consists of sixty members: 11 nominated by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), six elected by 3 national universities and 43 elected from vocational panels. The Seanad has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dáil.

The Members of Dáil Éireann (called Teachta Dála or TDs) are directly elected by the people at least once every five years. It currently has 166 members. Since 1922, it has met in Leinster House, on Kildare Street in Dublin. While, in principle, Dáil Éireann is only one of three components of the Oireachtas, in practice, the powers the constitution grants to the Dáil make it by far the dominant branch, meaning that most proposals passed by Dáil Éireann will ultimately become law.

Since the 1990s there have been coalition governments. Currently, there different political parties represented in Dáil Éireann are:

Fianna Fáil – www.fiannafail.ie

Fine Gael – www.finegael.com

The Labour Party – www.labour.ie

Anti-Austerity Alliance - www.antiausterityalliance.ie

Sinn Féin – www.sinnfein.ie

The Social Democrats: www.socialdemocrats.ie

The Green Party - www.greenparty.ie

The Government is headed by a prime minister called the Taoiseach, and a deputy prime minister called the Tánaiste.

Below is a list of the prime ministers (Taoisigh):

  • W.T. Cosgrave: August 1922 – March 1932
  • Eamon de Valera: March 1932 – February 1948
  • John A. Costello: February 1948 – June 1951
  • Eamon de Valera: June 1951 – June 1954
  • John A. Costello: June 1954 – March 1957
  • Eamon de Valera: March 1957 – June 1959
  • Seán F. Lemass: June 1959 – November 1966
  • Jack Lynch: November 1966 – March 1973
  • Liam Cosgrave: March 1973 – June 1977
  • Jack Lynch: July 1977 – December 1979
  • Charles J. Haughey: December 1979 – June 1981
  • Garret FitzGerald: June 1981 – January 1982
  • Charles J. Haughey: March 1982 – December 1982
  • Garret FitzGerald: December 1982 – March 1987
  • Charles J. Haughey: March 1987 – February 1992
  • Albert Reynolds: February 1992 – December 1994
  • John Bruton: December 1994 – June 1997
  • Bertie Ahern: June 1997 – May 2008
  • Brian Cowen: May 2008 – March 2011
  • Enda Kenny: March 2011 – June 2017
  • Leo Varadkar: June 2017 - present 

Follow this link to find out about the various government departments: http://www.gov.ie/tag/departments/

Who is eligible to run for election for Dáil Éireann?

If you are at least 21 years of age and you are an Irish citizen you can run for election in Dáil Éireann.

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Local Government

Along with the central institutions of the Oireachtas, the political system in Ireland also extends to local level government of the local authorities.

A list of local authorities can be found here: www.lgcsb.ie/en/irish-local-government

Local elections are held in Ireland every 5 years in the month of May or June. At these elections, members of the local community elect Councillors to represent the community in local authorities.

The elected council is the policy-making arm of the local authority. The day-to-day management of the local authority is coordinated by the county or city manager.

What services do Local Authorities provide?

Local Authorities are involved in the provision of a wide variety of services such as: Housing, Waste Management and Recycling, Libraries, Roads and Public Parks.

Can I be involved in local elections?

You are eligible to be elected to a local authority if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you are at least 18 years old. You do not have to be an Irish citizen. All residents of Ireland, regardless of nationality, can vote in local elections (see below).

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Membership of the European Union

What role does the EU play in the Irish political system?

Ireland is a member of the European Union. Member states participate in common institutions so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made at European level. For more information about the EU see: www.europa.eu

How am I represented at the EU?

The European Parliament is elected every five years by the people of Europe to represent their interests. Ireland has 12 MEPs (Members of European Parliament). Details of Irish MEPs can be found at www.europarl.europa.eu

Who is eligible to run for European elections in Ireland?

If you are at least 21 years of age and you are an Irish citizen or a resident EU citizen you can run for election to the European Parliament.

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Voting

Am I entitled to vote in Ireland?

This depends on your citizenship. You must also ensure that you are included on the Electoral Register. The right to vote in Ireland is as follows:

 

Local Elections

European Elections

Dáil Elections

Referendum/Presidential Elections

Resident Irish Citizen

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Resident British Citizen

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Resident EU Citizen

Yes

Yes

No

No

Resident Non-EU Citizen

Yes

No

No

No

How do I include my details on the Electoral Register?

In order to be included on the Electoral Register you will need to satisfy two conditions. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age on the day the Register comes into force (15th February) and
  • Have been ordinarily resident in the State on the 1st September in the year before the Register comes into force

You can get application forms from your local authority, post offices and public libraries. Applications for inclusion on the Electoral Register must be completed by the 25th November.

To check if you are on the electoral register you can also go to www.checktheregister.ie

What if I am not on the Register?

If you are not on the Register you should complete Form RFA. This form is available from www.checktheregister.ie and your local authority. You must sign this form at your local Garda station and return it to your local authority.

How do I vote?

Where you vote depends on your address. Each street has a designated polling station. Before Election Day you will be sent a polling card which tells you which polling station you will vote at. On Election Day you should bring your polling card and photo ID to your polling station. You will be given a ballot paper which lists all the candidates. You fill in your ballot paper in the privacy of a voting booth. You should write 1 beside your first choice and continue down the list of candidates. When you are finished fold your ballot paper and place it in the ballot box.

When are the next elections taking place?

  • Local elections – 2019
  • European elections – 2019
  • Dáil elections (General Election) – 2021
  • Presidential election – 2018

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Links

www.vote.ie is a website hosted by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice which works for social and economic change through tackling poverty and exclusion.

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice

Ozanam House, 53 Mountjoy Square, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1

Telephone: 01 8780425

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A Brief History of Ireland

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A Brief History of Ireland: English Version from Crosscare Migrant Project on Vimeo.

Early Irish History

Historians estimate that Ireland was first settled by humans at a relatively late stage in European terms – about 10,000 years ago. Around 4000 BC it is estimated that the first farmers arrived in Ireland. Farming marked the arrival of the new Stone Age. Around 300BC, Iron Age warriors known as the Celts came to Ireland from mainland Europe. The Celts had a huge influence on Ireland. Many famous Irish myths stem from stories about Celtic warriors. The current first official language of the Republic of Ireland, Irish (or Gaeilge) stems from Celtic language.

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Early Christian Ireland

Following the arrival of Saint Patrick and other Christian missionaries in the early to mid-5th century, Christianity took over the indigenous pagan religion by the year 600 AD. Irish Christian scholars excelled in the study of Latin, Greek and Christian theology in monasteries throughout Ireland. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewellery, and the many carved stone crosses that can still be seen across the country.

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The Viking Era

At the end of the 8th century and during the 9th century Vikings, from where we now call Scandinavia, began to invade and then gradually settle into and mix with Irish society. The Vikings founded, Dublin, Ireland’s capital city in 988. Following the defeat of the Vikings by Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, at Clontarf in 1014, Viking influence faded.

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The Norman Era

The 12th century saw the arrival of the Normans. The Normans built walled towns, castles and churches. They also increased agriculture and commerce in Ireland.

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Plantations and Penal Laws

After King Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England in 1534 he ensured that the Irish Parliament declared him King of Ireland in 1541. From this time up to the late 17th century, an official English policy of ‘plantation’ led to the arrival of thousands of English and Scottish Protestant settlers. The most successful plantation occurred in Ulster. From this period on, sectarian conflict became a common theme in Irish history.

The 17th century was a bloody one in Ireland. It culminated in the imposition of the harsh regime of Penal laws. These laws set about disempowering Catholics, denying them, for example, the right to take leases or own land above a certain value, outlawing Catholic clergy, forbidding higher education and entry to the professions, and imposing oaths of conformity to the state church, the Church of Ireland. During the 18th century strict enforcement of the Penal laws eased but by 1778 Catholics held only about 5% of the land in Ireland.

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Union with Great Britain

In 1782 a Parliamentary faction led by Henry Grattan (a Protestant) successfully agitated for a more favourable trading relationship with England and for greater legislative independence for the Parliament of Ireland. However, London still controlled much of what occurred in Ireland. Inspired by the French Revolution, in 1791 an organisation called the United Irishmen was formed with the ideal of bringing Irish people of all religions together to reform and reduce Britain’s power in Ireland. Its leader was a young Dublin Protestant called Theobald Wolfe Tone. The United Irishmen were the inspiration for the armed rebellion of 1798. Despite attempts at help from the French the rebellion failed and in 1801 the Act of Union was passed uniting Ireland politically with Britain.

In 1829 one of Ireland’s greatest leaders Daniel O’Connell, known as ‘the great liberator’ was central in getting the Act of Catholic Emancipation passed in the parliament in London. He succeeded in getting the total ban on voting by Catholics lifted and they could now also become Members of the Parliament in London.

After this success O’Connell aimed to cancel the Act of Union and re-establish an Irish parliament. However, this was a much bigger task and O’Connell’s approach of non-violence was not supported by all. Such political issues were overshadowed however by the worst disaster and tragedy in Irish history – the great famine.

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The Great Famine

Potatoes were the staple food of a growing population at the time. When blight (a form of plant disease) struck potato crops nationwide in 1845, 1846 and 1847 disaster followed. Potatoes were inedible and people began to starve to death. The response of the British government also contributed to the disaster – trade agreements were still controlled by London. While hundreds of thousands of people were suffering from extreme hunger, Ireland was forced to export abundant harvests of wheat and dairy products to Britain and further overseas.

Between 1845 and 1851 two million people died or were forced to emigrate from Ireland. The population of Ireland has never since reached its pre-famine level of approximately 8 million.

Ireland’s history of emigration continued from this point onwards with the majority of Irish emigrants going to the United States of America.

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Home Rule

There was little effective challenge to Britain’s control of Ireland until the efforts of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-91). At the age of 31 he became leader of the Irish Home Rule Party, which became the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1882.

While Parnell did not achieve Home Rule (or self-government), his efforts and widely recognised skills in the House of Commons earned him the title of ‘the uncrowned king of Ireland’. The impetus he gave to the idea of Home Rule was to have lasting implications.

In Ulster in the north of Ireland the majority of people were Protestants. They were concerned about the prospect of Home Rule being granted as they would be a Protestant minority in an independent Ireland with a Catholic majority. They favoured the union with Britain. The Unionist Party was lead by Sir Edward Carson. Carson threatened an armed struggle for a separate Northern Ireland if independence was granted to Ireland.

A Home Rule Bill was passed in 1912 but crucially it was not brought into law. The Home Rule Act was suspended at the outbreak of World War One in 1914. Many Irish nationalists believed that Home Rule would be granted after the war if they supported the British war effort. John Redmond the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party encouraged people to join the British forces and many did join. However, a minority of nationalists did not trust the British government leading to one of the most pivotal events in Irish history, the Easter Rising.

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Easter Rising

On April 24th (Easter Monday) 1916, two groups of armed rebels, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army seized key locations in Dublin. The Irish Volunteers were led by Padraig Pearse and the Irish Citizen Army was led by James Connolly. Outside the GPO (General Post Office) in Dublin city centre, Padraig Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic which declared an Irish Republic independent of Britain. Battles ensued with casualties on both sides and among the civilian population. The Easter Rising finished on April 30th with the surrender of the rebels. The majority of the public was actually opposed to the Rising. However, public opinion turned when the British administration responded by executing many of the leaders and participants in the Rising. All seven signatories to the proclamation were executed including Pearse and Connolly.

Two of the key figures who were involved in the rising who avoided execution were Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins. In the December 1918 elections the Sinn Féin party led by Éamon de Valera won a majority of the Ireland based seats of the House of Commons. On the 21st of January 1919 the Sinn Féin members of the House of Commons gathered in Dublin to form an Irish Republic parliament called Dáil Éireann, unilaterally declaring power over the entire island.

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War of Independence

What followed is known as the ‘war of independence’ when the Irish Republican Army – the army of the newly declared Irish Republic – waged a guerilla war against British forces from 1919 to 1921. One of the key leaders of this war was Michael Collins. In December 1921 a treaty was signed by the Irish and British authorities. While a clear level of independence was finally granted to Ireland the contents of the treaty were to split Irish public and political opinion. One of the sources of division was that Ireland was to be divided into Northern Ireland (6 counties) and the Irish Free State (26 counties) which was established in 1922.

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Civil War

Such was the division of opinion in Ireland that a Civil War followed from 1922 to 1923 between pro and anti treaty forces, with Collins (pro-treaty) and de Valera (anti-treaty) on opposing sides. The consequences of the Civil war can be seen to this day where the two largest political parties in Ireland have their roots in the opposing sides of the civil war – Fine Gael (pro-treaty) and Fianna Fáil (anti-treaty). A period of relative political stability followed the Civil war.

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Northern Ireland

Under the same Government of Ireland Act of 1920 that created the Irish Free State, the Parliament of Northern Ireland was created. The Parliament consisted of a majority of Protestants and while there was relative stability for decades this was to come to an end in the late 1960s due to systematic discrimination against Catholics.

1968 saw the beginning of Catholic civil rights marches in Northern Ireland which led to violent reactions from some Protestant loyalists and from the police force. What followed was a period known as ‘the Troubles’ when nationalist/republican and loyalist/unionist groups clashed.

In 1969 British troops were sent to Derry and Belfast to maintain order and to protect the Catholic minority. However, the army soon came to be seen as a tool of the Protestant majority by the minority Catholic community. This was reinforced by events such as Bloody Sunday in 1972 when British forces opened fire on a Catholic civil rights march in Derry killing 13 people. An escalation of paramilitary violence followed with many atrocities committed by both sides. The period of ‘the Troubles’ are generally agreed to have finished with the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement of April 10th 1998.

Between 1969 and 1998 it is estimated that well over 3,000 people were killed by paramilitary groups on opposing sides of the conflict.

Since 1998 considerable stability and peace has come to Northern Ireland. In 2007 former bitterly opposing parties the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin began to co-operate in government together in Northern Ireland.

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Republic of Ireland – 20th Century to present day

The 1937 Constitution re-established the state as the Republic of Ireland.

In 1973 Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union).

In the 1980s the Irish economy was in recession and large numbers of people emigrated for employment reasons. Many young people emigrated to the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia.

Economic reforms in the 1980s along with membership of the European Community (now European Union) created one of the world’s highest economic growth rates. Ireland in the 1990s, so long considered a country of emigration, became a country of immigration. This period in Irish history was called the Celtic Tiger.

To find places of historical interest in Ireland visit:

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Culture & Society

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Irish culture has many different meanings. There is no set definition of Irish culture but there are a few symbols which are unique to Ireland. Ireland is often called the ‘land of saints and scholars’ referring to the golden age of monastic learning, or ‘the emerald isle’ referring to the green landscape.

To find out more about Irish music, culture, arts and heritage go to:

Culture Ireland - www.cultureireland.ie

Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs - www.ahrrga.gov.ie/

The Irish Flag

The flag was first introduced by Thomas Francis Meagher in 1848 who based it on the French tricolour. However, it was not until after the Easter Rising of 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag. The flag was adopted in 1919 by the Irish Republic during its war of independence and subsequently by the Irish Free State. It was given constitutional status under the 1937 Constitution, which established the Republic of Ireland.

The green section in the flag symbolises the older majority Gaelic tradition of Ireland, made up mainly of Roman Catholics. The orange represents the mainly Protestant minority. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the two cultures and living together in peace.

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The Constitution

Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Constitution of Ireland, is the basic law of Ireland. No law can be passed which does not agree with it. The Constitution can be changed only by a referendum in which every citizen of Ireland, over the age of 18, is entitled to vote. The Constitution was passed in a referendum on the 1st July 1937. The Constitution is available in English and Irish at: www.constitution.ie

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The National Anthem

Amhrán na bhFiann or The Soldier’s Song is the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland. The anthem was written in English by Peadar Kearney in 1907, and the Irish lyrics, were written by Liam Ó Rinn. The song became the official state anthem in 1926.

The song is regarded by some nationalists as the national anthem of the whole of Ireland, and it is therefore sung, for example, at Gaelic Athletic Association matches held anywhere on the island. The anthem consists of 3 verses and a chorus but generally only the chorus is sung.

Some Unionists however, reject this use of Amhrán na bhFiann, and at international games played by teams that represent both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the song Ireland’s Call is sung instead of, or as well as, Amhrán na bhFiann.

Click here to listen to the National Anthem

Click here to read the lyrics of the song

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Popular Songs

An unofficial anthem which is sung at many sporting events is The Fields of Athenry. It tells the story of a man who is convicted of stealing food during the Great Famine who is convicted and transported to Australia.

Click here to listen to the Fields of Athenry

Click here to read the lyrics of the song

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The national symbol

The harp is a symbol of the Irish State. It is used by Government Departments and Offices. It also appears on all Irish coins. The harp is engraved on the seal of office of the President and it is also on the flag of the President of Ireland.

For more information on the flag, constitution, anthem and symbol of Ireland go to www.taoiseach.gov.ie.

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The national holiday and the shamrock

March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and it is the National Holiday in Ireland. St. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and March 17th is the date that St. Patrick is said to have died. St. Patrick’s Day parades are held in most towns in Ireland and in a number of countries throughout the world to celebrate the national holiday. Many people wear a plant called ‘shamrock’ on St. Patrick’s Day. It is an unofficial but perhaps more recognised symbol of Ireland. It is said that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Trinity.

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Popular Culture

Popular culture in Ireland is very similar to many other Western countries in terms of TV, cinema and popular music and literature. However, one aspect of popular culture in Ireland that makes it somewhat different to other cultures is pub culture.

The term ‘pub’ refers to a ‘public house’ or bar. While there is a recognised issue of over-consumption of alcohol in Ireland, pub culture is about more than just drinking. Typically pubs are important meeting places, where people can gather and meet their neighbours and friends in a relaxed atmosphere. The character of pubs varies widely according to the customers they serve, and the area they are in. Since 2004 it is illegal to smoke in an enclosed place of work in Ireland, including pubs.

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Geography

Many Irish people view themselves and others in terms of what part of Ireland they are from. Ireland is divided into 32 counties. This is most evident during inter-county GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) matches, where fans dress in the specific colours of their county. The Republic of Ireland consists of 26 counties, and Northern Ireland of six. It is also traditionally divided into the four provinces of Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. Ulster contains 9 counties, 6 of which are in Northern Ireland and 3 of which are in the Republic of Ireland.

Counties of Ireland

Provinces of Ireland

A few important points about Ireland’s geography

  • Ireland’s highest mountain is Carrantuohill in County Kerry
  • Ireland’s longest river is the Shannon
  • Ireland’s largest lake is Lough Neagh in Ulster

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Irish society and migration

Traditionally Irish society has been one of emigration. For hundreds of years more Irish people left Ireland than immigrated to Ireland. The most notable periods of emigration were following the famine in 1845 and more recently in the 1950s and 1980s when large numbers of Irish emigrated to look for a better life. This has changed since the late 1990s when the economy of Ireland improved dramatically. Since then many people have immigrated to Ireland. The Census in 2006 estimated that 1 in 10 people in Ireland were not Irish citizens; this figure included a significant proportion of UK citizens.

Although emigration has been a constant feature of Irish society, the late 1990s also saw a trend of Irish emigrants returning home to live in Ireland. Many millions of people around the world particularly in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand claim Irish ancestry. For many generations most Irish people have had family that live in other countries, something that is now also characteristic of immigrants to Ireland.

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Customs

Like any other country there are customs and traditions which are particular to Ireland.

Greeting people

Irish people have the reputation of being very friendly. Generally people will shake hands when they meet for the first time. Friends will hug or just say hello. Sometimes people will kiss on the cheek if they know each other well. People generally make eye contact because it is a sign of trust and that you are interested in what they are saying.

Time keeping

Sometimes it may seem as if time keeping is not very important in Ireland. Generally when someone arranges to meet you at 8pm this will usually mean 8.15pm or later. Irish people, in general, are very relaxed about time.

Manners

People will generally say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, for example, when getting off a bus most people will thank the bus driver.

People also usually queue in line and wait their turn, for example, in a shop.

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Travellers

Travellers are an indigenous group who have been part of Irish society for centuries. Travellers have distinct cultural values and traditions as well as their own language, Cant. Historically, Travellers played a role as bearers of culture including music and storytelling. There are approximately 25,000 Travellers in Ireland with many others along with their descendents living in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Traditionally, Travellers lived by the road side and moved from place to place. Travellers are involved in scrap metal recycling, market trading and horse dealing. Gradually a number of Travellers settled in housing estates but many more continue to live a nomadic life. In 2002 the Irish government made camping on public or private grounds a criminal offence which has impacted on Traveller life.

Travellers have and continue to experience a high level of prejudice and discrimination in Irish society. There are a number of Traveller organisations who campaign for Travellers’ rights in Ireland:

Pavee Point
46 North Great Charles Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8780255
Email: info@pavee.ie
Website: www.paveepoint.ie

Irish Traveller Movement
4/5 Eustace Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6796577
Email: info@itmtrav.ie
Website: www.itmtrav.ie

Culture & Society

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Language

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Learning English

Where can I learn English in Ireland?

If you would like to attend an English language course there are a number of different options available:

  • Education and Training Boards Ireland usually offer courses in English as a second language: www.etbi.ie
  • You can also check for private courses with the Advisory Council for English Language Schools: www.acels.ie
  • Local community groups sometimes offer free English language classes

You can also:

  • Attend a conversation exchange at your local library: www.askaboutireland.ie
  • Place your own advertisement looking for someone to take part in a language exchange. A good place to put the ad is in the local library or on university or college notice boards.

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English Lessons

These lessons are a basic introduction to the English language. Each lesson consists of vocabulary and sometimes a short dialogue. You can use the dialogues to practise your listening skills. English is generally spoken at a fast speed in Ireland so it may take a little while to get used to this.

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Lesson A: Answering the telephone

Vocabulary:

'Can I speak to Paul please?

To be in

To leave a message

To take a message

To call back

To call you back

To pass a message on

Wrong number

Dialogue 1:

Mary: Hello

John: Hello. 'Can I speak to Paul, please?

Mary: Sorry he is not in. Can I take a message?

John: Yes. This is John. Please tell him to call me back. My number is 086 1234567.

Mary: I will pass your message on.

John: Thank you.

Mary: You’re welcome.

John: Good bye.

Mary: Good bye.

Dialogue 2:

Mary: Hello

John: Hello. 'Can I speak to Mr. O’Connor, please?

Mary: Mr. O’Connor is not here at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?

John: Yes, please. Could you tell him that John called and I will call him back tomorrow?

Mary: I will tell him.

John: Thank you.

Mary: You’re welcome.

John: Good bye.

Mary: Good bye.

Dialogue 3:

Mary: Hello

John: Hello. 'Can I speak to Patrick please?

Mary: Sorry you have the wrong number. There is no Patrick here.

John: I’m sorry.

Mary: No problem.

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Lesson B: Opening a bank account

Vocabulary:

To open a bank account

Photo ID

To fill in a form

Passport

Proof of your address

Bill

Please sign here

Dialogue 1:

Mary: I would like to open a bank account please.

Bank official: Certainly. Please fill in this form. Do you have photo ID with you?

Mary: Yes. I have my passport.

Bank official: Do you have proof of your address?

Mary: Yes I have an ESB bill.

Bank official: Great. I’m going to photocopy these documents. Please sign here. Your account will be active in 24 hours.

Mary: Thank you.

Bank official: You’re welcome.

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Lesson C: Asking for a bank draft

Vocabulary:

Bank draft

How can I help you?

Who is the bank draft for?

To pay by cash

To debit your account

Dialogue 1:

Mary: Hello.

Bank official: How can I help you?

Mary: I would like a bank draft for €1000 please

Bank official: Who is the bank draft for?

Mary: The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Bank official: Would you like to pay by cash?

Mary: Yes please.

Bank official: Here is your bank draft.

Mary: Thank you.

Bank official: You’re welcome.

Mary: Good bye

Bank official: Good bye.

Dialogue 2:

Mary: Hello.

Bank official: How can I help you?

Mary: I would like a bank draft for €250 please

Bank official: Would you like to debit your account for this amount?

Mary: Yes please.

Bank official: Here is your bank draft.

Mary: Thank you.

Bank official: You’re welcome.

Mary: Good bye

Bank official: Good bye.

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Lesson D: Going to the post office

Vocabulary:

To send/post

Stamp

Registered post

Express post

Envelope

Parcel

Package

Receipt

To fill in a form

Valuable

Change

Letter

Dialogue 1:

Mary: I want to send this envelope by express post?

Post office official: Please fill in this form.

Mary: There you go.

Post office official: €4.00 please.

Mary: There you go.

Post office official: And your change.

Mary: Thank you.

Dialogue 2:

Mary: I want to send this by registered post please?

Post office official: Is there anything valuable in this parcel?

Mary: No

Post office official: €5.25, please.

Mary: There you go.

Post office official: Here is your receipt.

Mary: Thank you. Good bye.

Post office official: You’re welcome. Good bye.

Dialogue 3:

Mary: Hello.

Post office official: Hello. How can I help you?

Mary: I would like to send this letter to the United Kingdom.

Post office official: 82 cent, please. Here is your change.

Mary: Thank you.

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Lesson E: Filling in forms

Vocabulary:

What is your full name?

What is your address?

Please provide details of ALL your previous addresses starting with the most recent one

What is your telephone number?

What is your date of birth?

What country were you born in?

What is your nationality?

Date of arrival in Ireland?

Why did you come to Ireland?

Are you? Single

Married

Separated

Widowed

Cohabiting

Divorced

Are you: Employed

Retired

Studying

Unemployed

Other

General forms which people fill in are: the Habitual Residence Condition form (HRC1), Child Benefit form (CB1) and the citizenship form (Form 8 – Application for naturalisation as an Irish citizen)

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Abbreviations

Sending text messages or texting is very popular. Here are a few common abbreviations that you will see in text messages:

Abbreviation

Meaning

Brb

Be right back

Btw

by the way

Cos

Because

Cu

See you

Defo

Definitely

Fyi

For your information

Gr8

Great

L8r

Later

Lol

Laugh out loud

Msg

Message

Ppl

People

Ttyl

Talk to you later

Txt

Text

Tmrw / 2moro

Tomorrow

U

You

Ur

Your

Wot

what

Wud

Would

2day

Today

2nite

Tonight

4get

Forget

4u

For you

It is also common for people to use smileys/emoticons. The most common ones are:

Smiley/Emoticon

Meaning

grin

Smiling

:-(

Sad

wink

Winking

:-D

Laugh or grin

:O

Shocked

tongue laugh

Sticking tongue out

Other abbreviations include:

Abbreviation

Meaning

ASAP

As soon as possible

DOB

Date of birth

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Hiberno-English

The Irish language influences how English is spoken in Ireland. Hiberno-English or Irish-English is similar to the English spoken in the United Kingdom but has its own unique features. Within Irish-English there are regional variations and accents. Below are the most common examples (with meanings) which you will hear in everyday conversations:

Common Words and Expressions

  • Sorry is used to say I’m sorry and also to say Excuse me. For example people would say, ‘Sorry do you have the time’ instead of ‘Excuse me do you have the time?’
  • I’m after doing my homework means ‘I have done my homework’
  • Come here means ‘listen to this’ or ‘I have something to tell you’
  • Amn’t means ‘am not’, for example, ‘Amn’t I right?’
  • Yer man or yer wan/one means ‘your man’ or ‘your woman’. Used to refer to someone whose name you do not know, for example, ‘Yer man in the shop said it would cost €20’.
  • Ye, Yis, Yous – you (plural), for example, ‘What are yous doing?’
  • Yoke – ‘a thing’ for example, ‘what did you do with that yoke?’
  • Class/classic – excellent, for example, ‘That book is class’
  • Deadly – brilliant, for example, ‘The party was deadly’
  • Eejit – idiot, for example, ‘You’re an awful eejit’
  • Fair play – well done, for example, ‘Fair play to you’
  • Gas – funny, for example, ‘That’s gas’
  • Minerals – soft drink, fizzy drink, soda, for example ‘would you like a mineral?’
  • Scoop – used to describe an alcoholic drink, for example, ‘are you going for a few scoops?’
  • Thanks a million – common way of saying thank you.
  • Grand – fine, well, for example, ‘how are you? – I’m grand’.
  • Do – Event or party, for example, ‘We are having a do on Friday you should come along’.
  • Brilliant -– great, fantastic
  • What’s the story? – How are things? What’s going on?
  • Fag – cigarette, for example ‘I need a fag’
  • Gosh – to express surprise, for example, ‘Gosh, I didn’t know that’
  • Feck – to throw, go away, for example, ‘Feck that in the bin’ or ‘Feck off!’
  • Scumbag – used to describe a nasty person, for example, ‘He is a total scumbag’
  • Tipple, poison – alcoholic drink, for example, ‘What’s your poison/tipple?’
  • Jesus, Mary and Joseph – common phrase to express surprise or frustration
  • Jaysus – Jesus, also used to express surprise or frustration
  • To give out – to tell someone off, for example, ‘She gave out to him for not cleaning the house’
  • Janey mac! – used to express surprise or amazement
  • Banger – slang word used to describe an old car, for example, ‘Are you still driving that banger?’
  • Loo – toilet, for example, ‘Where’s the loo?’
  • Leg it – to run away, for example ‘Let’s get out of here, leg it!’
  • Grub – food, for example ‘Is there any grub in the house?’

Pronunciation

  • Th at the start of a word is not always pronounced clearly, for example, the can sound like de.

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Introduction to the Irish language

Irish (Gaeilge) is one of the official languages in Ireland. While most Irish people do not speak the language on a daily basis, it is still an important part of Irish identity. You will see and hear Irish words and sayings in many different places, for example, most road and street signs are bilingual.

street sign

In March every year, Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish week) takes place. It highlights and promotes the importance of the Irish language. For more information in English and Irish see: www.snag.ie

Family names in Irish

A man’s surname generally takes the form of Ó or Mac and a woman’s surname generally take the form of Ní or Nic, for example:

Patrick Byrne = Padraig Ó’Broin

Mary Byrne = Máire Ní Broin

John Fitzgerald = Seán Mac Gearailt

Anne Fitzgerald = Áine Nic Gearailt

In Irish families, one son is generally given the same first name as his father. To differentiate between father and son the word óg (young) is sometimes used, for example, Seán would be the father and Seán Óg would be the son.

Greetings

Here are some common greetings in Irish:

Common Irish language words and expressions

The following are words from the Irish language which are used instead of the English version:

  • Bualadh bos – applause, to clap hands, for example, ‘Bualadh bos for Mary’
  • Craic – fun, a good time, chat, for example, ‘That was great craic’, ‘what’s the craic?’
  • Garda – police officer (Gardaí – plural)
  • Garda Síochána – police service (literally: guardians of the peace)
  • Sláinte – Irish word for health. Used as a toast when drinking. It has a similar meaning to ‘cheers’
  • Mná – women
  • Fir – Men
  • Nuacht – news
  • Taoiseach – leader, ruler, prime minister
  • Tánaiste – deputy prime minister
  • Uachtarán na hÉireann – President of Ireland
  • Áras an Uachtaráin – the official residence of the President of Ireland
  • LUAS – speed (and also the name of the light rail service in Dublin)
  • Slán – goodbye

Place names

I would like to start learning Irish. Where can I get information on this?

The following organisations provide Irish language classes:

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A Brief History of the Irish Language

While English is the language most spoken by the majority of Irish people, Irish or Gaeilge is the First Official Language of the Republic of Ireland and it is an official language of the European Union. Although once spoken commonly across the island of Ireland, nowadays it is generally spoken in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking areas).

Irish originally stems from Celtic language and so is likely to have been introduced to Ireland at the time of the arrival of Celts in Ireland. Following conquests and plantations from Britain in the 16th and 17th century the status of Irish was seriously undermined. However, through the 1700s and into the 1800s Irish was the language of the majority of the rural population.

The Great Famine and the introduction of a primary education system where Irish was banned further weakened the status of Irish. The language appeared to be on the point of extinction, but a vigorous restoration movement helped to prevent such a fate.

The Gaelic League, or in Irish, Conradh na Gaeilge, established in 1893, successfully turned support for Irish into a mass movement. With the establishment of the Free State in 1922 some attempts were made to re-establish Irish as the dominant language. However, English was widely used at this time and state institutions continued to operate through English so Irish remained a secondary language.

Support for the Irish language has grown again in more recent years. There is an Irish radio station (Radio na Gaeltachta) which was established in 1972 and an Irish language television station (TG4 – TG ceathair) which was established in 1994. For more information on the Irish language go to the bi-lingual website www.gaeilge.ie

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Gaeltacht

What is the Gaeltacht?

Gaeltacht is the Irish word meaning ‘Irish speaking region’. The Gaeltacht consists of areas in Ireland where Irish is still spoken as the community language. The Gaeltacht covers large parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford.

Where can I get more information about the Gaeltacht?

Údarás na Gaeltachta was established in 1980 and is the regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht: www.udaras.ie

Na Forbacha, Co. Galway
Telephone: 091 503100
Email: eolas@udaras.ie

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Community

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The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (formerly the Office of the Minister of State for Integration) was set up to develop, drive and co-ordinate policy in relation to the integration of legally resident immigrants across Government Departments so that our immigrants are fully integrated into Irish society: www.integration.ie

6 - 7 Hanover Street East, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 474 8627
E-mail: info@integration.ie

I would like to get involved in the local community in some way, what are my options?

A good idea is to go to your local community centre and ask what clubs and associations use the centre. Your local library is also a good source of information about community centres, local activities, clubs and associations that you may be interested in. Libraries also run their own courses and events: www.library.ie

Your local VEC (Vocational Educational Committee) is likely to hold a variety of formal educational courses and general interest courses.

Ireland has a rich variety of community and voluntary organisations that you can get involved in. Your local community centre or library is a good place to start.

To find migrant led organisations in your area check out the New Communities Partnership’s Directory of Migrant Led Organisations: www.newcommunities.ie

I would like to start my own community or voluntary organisation where can I get help?

The Wheel is a support and representative body connecting Community and Voluntary organisations across Ireland. For more information go to www.wheel.ie. The Carmichael Centre is also a good source of information and support www.carmichaelcentre.ie
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Sports

Sports clubs are widespread across Ireland. The following are the websites of some national organisations that have a large network of clubs and branches all over Ireland:

You can also go to the ‘Participation’ link of www.irishsportscouncil.ie for a more comprehensive list of organisations.

The Gaelic Athletic Association

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is the largest amateur sports association in Ireland. The main aim of the organisation is to promote the Gaelic games of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders. The most popular of these games are Gaelic football, hurling and camogie. There are approximately 2,500 GAA clubs in Ireland. For more information on the history of Gaelic games, the GAA, the rules of games go to www.gaa.ie

GAA
Croke Park Stadium, Dublin 3
Telephone: 01 8363222

Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) supports and promotes cultural integration and social inclusion through sport: www.sari.ie

135 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8735077
Email: info@sari.ie

Show Racism the Red Card uses sport to educate against racism and supports programmes that encourage integration and sport: www.theredcard.ie

Email: info@theredcard.ie

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Other Sports

  • Golf is a very popular sport and pastime in Ireland. There are many golf courses and clubs throughout the country.
  • Hiking trails/walking groups
    • Discover Ireland provides information and advice on walking trails throughout the country.
    • Slí na Sláinte is a simple and innovative scheme developed by the Irish Heart Foundation to encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk for leisure and good health: www.irishheart.ie

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Volunteering

Another good way of getting to know people from different backgrounds is to volunteer in your local community. There are many different volunteering opportunities.

According to Volunteer Ireland, the National Volunteer Development Agency, there are many benefits to volunteering:

  • Work experience, that may be added to your CV
  • Exploring a career path
  • Developing and learning new skills
  • Making a difference/positive contribution
  • Training
  • The opportunity to do something you love
  • Meeting new people
  • Learning about Irish culture

For more information you can contact

Volunteer Ireland, 18 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6369446
Email: info@volunteer.ie

If you would like to find out if there is a local volunteer centre in your area you can check the Volunteer Ireland website on www.volunteer.ie

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Religious communities

There is a growing variety of religious communities in Ireland. Catholicism is by far the largest religion in Ireland. There are also other Christian denominations:

Other religious communities in Ireland include:

Russian Orthodox Church SS Peter and Paul
Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6
Morning Service: Sunday - 9.00am Confessions and 10.00am Divine Liturgy
Evening Service: Saturday - 6.00pm
Email: stpeterstpaul@stpeterstpaul.net
Website: http://stpeterstpaul.net

Byzantine Catholics in Dublin:

Ukrainian Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Ireland

St. Kevin’s Oratory at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

Sunday Divine Liturgy at 4.00pm (unless there is a baptism). On Holy Days the Divine Liturgy is normally at 11.00am. When there is a baptism, the baptism is celebrated together with the Sunday Divine Litrugy at 3.30pm
Website: www.byzcath.org/ireland/about.htm

Information for Muslim community:

The main mosques in Ireland are:

  • Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, 19 Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
    Telephone: 01 2603740
  • Islamic Foundation of Ireland and Dublin Mosque, 163 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
    Telephone: 01 4533242
  • Ahlul Bayt Islamic Centre, Milltown Bridge, Dundrum, Dublin 14
    Telephone: 01 2604491
  • Cork Mosque, Unit D, Sitecast Industrial Estate, Togher, Cork
    Telephone: 021 4320301

Halal Shops in Dublin:

  • Asian Food Company, 54-55 Mary Street, Dublin 1
    Telephone: 01 8781099
  • Asian Grocery, 2 Church View, Church Lane, Blanchardstown Village , Dublin 15
    Telephone: 087 9269900
  • Madina Asian Store, Moore Street Market, Dublin 2
    Telephone: 01 8734011
  • Mountview Halal Meats, Unit 5, Mountiview Shopping Centre, Clonsilla, Dublin 15
    Telephone: 01 8234602
  • Maliks Shop, Unit 6, Coolmine Business Park, Dublin 15
    Telephone: 01 6405295
  • Near Buy, 12 Clonsilla Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
     
  • RAZ Q, Sarsfield House, Chapel Hill, Lucan Village, Co. Dublin
    Telephone: 01 6219697
  • Spicy Land – Hussain Shop
    Upper Camden Street, Dublin 2 and The Square Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
    Telephone: 01 4783094

Halal Shops around the country:

  • East End Halal Shop, Corner of Roches Street, Limerick City
  • Oriental Food Store, 11 Roches Street, Limerick City
    Telephone: 061 417139
    Email:alfalah.trading@gmail.com
  • Halal Packers, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo
  • Hidayat and Sons Asian Groceries, Main Street, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon
    Telephone: 086 0717182
    Email: sajidhidayat@eircom.net

Health issues for women

There is an Arabic speaking lady doctor available for consultation at Blackglen Medical Centre, Unit 7, Blackglen Village Centre, Sandyford, Dublin 18.

Telephone: 01 216 1575

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Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert

Another way of getting involved in the local community is to participate in the Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert programmes.

Neighbourhood Watch is a crime prevention and community safety programme for urban areas. It operates as a partnership between An Garda Síochána and the public.

Community Alert is a community safety programme for rural areas with an emphasis on older and vulnerable people.

To set up or get involved in a local Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert programme contact your local Garda station or go to www.garda.ie.

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Parties and gatherings

Children’s parties

Many children attending childcare and school invite their classmates to their birthday party. Sometimes the party is held in the child’s home or their parents bring them and their friends to the cinema or children’s play centre. Children who are invited to the party are expected to bring a present for the child whose birthday it is. Generally food is provided and there is a birthday cake.

Parties

People have parties for various celebrations, for example, wedding, christening, birthday and other holidays. It is common for people to have dinner parties at any time during the year. If you are invited to a dinner party, it is a good idea to bring a small present along, for example, a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers or chocolates.

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Online communities

There are many online communities where you can find out more about your local area and also meet people:

Join us on Facebook and meet other people living in Ireland.

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Arts and Entertainment

There are many different arts and entertainment options in Ireland which are a good way to meet people and find out more about Ireland.

Museums

  • The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin: www.museum.ie
    • Archaeology, Dublin
    • Decorative Arts, Dublin
    • Natural History, Dublin
    • Country Life, Mayo

Galleries and Libraries

Theatres

Festivals

photo of St. Patricks Day Festival
Photo by Uggboy

  • Music
    • Fleadh Cheoil are festivals of Irish music, dance, song and language. They take place throughout the country. For more information go to: www.comhaltas.ie
    • Electric Picnic is an art and music festival which takes place in Co. Laois: www.electricpicnic.ie
    • Cork Jazz Festival: www.corkjazzfestival.com
    • Castle Palooza Music and Arts Festival takes place in Tullamore, Co. Offaly: www.castlepalooza.com
    • Slane is a concert which has been held at Slane Castle for most years since 1981: www.slanecastle.ie
  • Literature and Theatre

Cinemas

Live Music

Dance

Comedy

International Bar, Dublin: www.international-bar.com

Laughter Lounge, Dublin: www.laughterlounge.com

Roisin Dubh, Galway:www.roisindubh.net

Going out

  • Historic and famous pubs
    • Brazen Head, Dublin is Ireland’s second oldest pub: www.brazenhead.com
    • Mulligans, Dublin is a traditional Irish pub: www.mulligans.ie
    • Sean’s Pub, Athlone, Co. Westmeath is the oldest pub in Ireland

For Children

 

  • Imaginosity – Dublin Children’s Museum: www.imaginosity.ie
  • The Ark – A Cultural Centre for Children: www.ark.ie
  • www.fundays.ie provides information for parents on where to ‘have fun’ in Ireland
  • www.mykidstime.ie - Online local information for kids activities, classes, events and services.
  • www.familyfun.ie is a free resource for parents of young kids in Ireland to help them find fun things to do together as a family.

To find more arts and entertainment options go to:

If we have forgotten something let us know!

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Family

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Children’s Rights and Welfare

Children’s rights are human rights for all children and young people under 18 years of age and are laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ireland ratified the Convention but has not incorporated it into domestic law.

Children First are the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children. These guidelines are intended to assist people identifying and reporting child abuse and to improve the practice in state and voluntary organisations that provide services for children and families.

Child and Family Agency (Tusla)

The Child and Family Agency, also called 'Tusla', is the State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It was established in January 2014 and it brings together the HSE Children and Family Services, Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board into one agency. The services of the Child and Family Agency include:

  • Child protection and Welfare Services
  • Educational Welfare Services
  • Psychological Services
  • Alternative Care
  • Family and Locally-based Community Supports
  • Early Years Services
  • Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Service

More information on the Child and Family Agency can be found at www.tusla.ie 

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Age of consent to sexual activity

The age of consent is the age at which people can legally have sex. In Ireland the age of consent (in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship) is 17.

What is the legal age to get married in Ireland?

You must be 18 years of age to get married in Ireland. If you are under 18 years of age you will need to get a Court Exemption Order so that the marriage is legally recognised. In exceptional circumstances, you may be able to get a Court Exemption Order permitting you to marry if you are under 18.

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Children’s Rights Groups

The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services: www.childrensrights.ie

7 Red Cow Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7

Telephone: 01 6629400

Email: info@childrensrights.ie

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) is here to make sure that the government and other people who make decisions about young people really think about what is best for young people. For information in different languages go to: www.oco.ie

Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8656800
Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40
Email: oco@oco.ie

Childline is part of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Childline provides a telephone and online help service for children: www.childline.ie

Free Phone: 1800 66 66 66

Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children: www.barnardos.ie

National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 4530355
Callsave: 1850 222 300
Email: info@barnardos.ie

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Immunisation

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting your child against certain diseases. In Ireland, all recommended childhood immunisations are free of charge. The HSE coordinates the immunisation programme.

For the timetable for childhood immunisation go to www.immunisation.ie

If you have any questions about vaccinations you should contact your GP or your local health centre.

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Breastfeeding

Ireland has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. However, there are many benefits to breastfeeding, for example, breastfeeding provides the necessary nutrients for your baby and also helps strengthen your baby’s immune system.

There are a number of organisations which offer support for breastfeeding:

The HSE has developed a national breastfeeding website: www.breastfeeding.ie

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Breastfeeding and the workplace

Under Irish law, breastfeeding mothers are entitled to time off or a reduction in working hours in order to breastfeed or express breast milk. In an eight hour working day, a breastfeeding mother is entitled to one hour off (with pay) as a breastfeeding break. This can be divided into:

  • One break of 60 minutes
  • Two breaks of 30 minutes or
  • Three breaks of 20 minutes.

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Childcare options

There are different options for childcare in Ireland:

  • Childminder – someone who minds your children either in your home or their home
  • Day care – this includes crèches. Children are looked after for more than 3.5 hours per day with other children of a similar age
  • Affordable childcare – for families on lower incomes. These are run by the local City or County Childcare Committee.

You can also bring your child to:

  • A playgroup – group where children meet other children of a similar age to play
  • A Montessori group – where the focus is on child development and social skills
  • A parent and toddler group – parents and their children meet up with other parents and children. The children play while the adults also meet to offer support and friendship.

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Childcare payments

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free years of childhood care and education for children between the ages of 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months.

You should contact your local City/County Childcare Committee for more information on childcare in your local area.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also provides information in relation to the scheme: www.dcya.gov.ie

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Childcare groups

Childminding Ireland is a membership organisation and a Registered Charity. Founded in 1983 by a small group of Childminders, it has grown to become the National Body for Childminders: www.childminding.ie

Early Childhood Ireland is the largest voluntary organisation working for young children and their families in Ireland: www.earlychildhoodireland.ie

Hainault House, Belgard Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Telephone: 01 4057100
Email: info@earlychildhoodireland.ie

National Voluntary Childcare Collaborative works towards the development of excellence in childcare services in Ireland: www.nvcc.ie

Cuidiú (caring support in Irish) is a voluntary parent-to-parent support group who offer support services in three areas:

  • Antenatal classes
  • Breastfeeding Counselling
  • Postnatal and Parenthood Support

There are branches throughout the country: www.cuidiu-ict.ie

Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8724501
Email: info@cuidiu.ie

Irish Montessori Education Board provides accreditation for Montessori schools in Ireland: www.imebtrust.org

Kingston House, 64 Patrick’s Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Telephone: 01 2805705
Email: info@imebtrust.org

Parent and Toddler Groups can be a great way of meeting other people with children the same age as yours in the local area. For more information about your local group contact your GP, district nurse or your local health centre.

There is also a Parent and Toddler Group Initiative which provides grants to groups. For more information contact your local City/County Childcare Committee or go to: www.khf.ie

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Parenting

Parentline provides a confidential helpline for parents and guardians: www.parentline.ie

Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8787230
Helpline: 1890 927 277
Email: info@parentline.ie

www.rollercoaster.ie provides information on parenting, pregnancy and childcare.

www.schooldays.ie is an online resource for parents and teachers.

www.mykidstime.ie - Online local information for kids activities, classes, events and services.

Parents Plus is a community trust committed to developing educational materials for parents and children and to providing support to professionals working with children and families in the community: www.parentsplus.ie

15 St. Vincent Street North
Telephone: 01 830 7984
Email:admin@parentsplus.ie

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Family Supports

For information and support on family life contact:

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One-Parent Families

The following organisations provide information and support to one-parent families in Ireland:

Treoir – The National Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children provides information and support to parents who are not married to each other: www.treoir.ie

14 Gandon House, Custom House Square, IFSC, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 6700120
Lo-Call: 1890 252 084
Email: info@treoir.ie

One Family is a leading national organisation for one-parent families in Ireland: www.onefamily.ie

Cherish House, 2 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6629212
askonefamily Lo-call info line: 1890 66 22 12
Email: info@onefamily.ie

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Social Welfare Payments

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Family Income Supplement (FIS)

Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax-free payment for low paid working families.

How do I qualify?

You may qualify if you:

  • are an employee in paid full-time employment which is expected to last for 3 months
  • work at least 19 hours every week, or 38 hours every fortnight (if you are married or living with a partner, you can combine the hours worked by your spouse or partner).
  • have at least one qualified child who normally lives with you and/or is supported by you. A qualified child is any child under age 18 or aged 18 to 22 if in full-time education
  • have an average weekly family income

What counts as family income?

The following count as family income:

  • Your earnings and your partner’s earnings
  • any other income including social welfare or Health Service Executive payments

The following do not count as family income:

  • Child Benefit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Rent Allowance for tenants affected by de-control of rents
  • Guardian’s Payment
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Foster Child Allowance
  • income from casual employment by the Health Service Executive as “home help” (in some cases)

How long can I claim Family Income Supplement?

You can claim Family Income Supplement for 52 weeks provided you meet eligibility requirements. If your family size increases you must contact the Family Income Supplement Section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs to claim a higher rate of payment.

When can I apply?

You can apply for FIS as soon as you start work.

How do I apply?

You need to complete Form FIS1 and send it to the Family Income Supplement Section:

Social Welfare Services
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Lo-Call 1890 92 77 70

What do I need to provide?

You will need to provide the following documents:

  • a number of recent payslips to show your income
  • Your latest P60 (if you have one)
  • Your Certificate of Tax Credits for the current year (if you have one)

If you are starting employment for the first time or taking up a new job, you should contact your local Tax Office for advice about your Tax Credits. For more information about FIS you can contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Department of Social and Family Affairs: www.welfare.ie

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Child Benefit

What is Child Benefit?

In Ireland, Child Benefit is payable to the parents or guardians of qualified children normally living with you and being supported by you.

Who is a qualified child?

A qualified child is:

  • Under 16 years of age or
  • Aged 16-18 if in full-time education, attending Youthreach Training or is physically or mentally disabled and dependant on you

Since January 2010 child benefit is not paid once your child reaches 18 years of age.

When should I apply?

You need to apply for Child Benefit within 12 months of:

  • The birth of your child
  • The month the child became a member of your family
  • The month your family came to live in Ireland

How do I apply?

If you are claiming Child Benefit for the first time you need to complete Form CB1. You must include your child’s birth certificate and send it to the Child Benefit Section.

St. Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Lo-Call: 1890 400 400

Do not send the original certificate. Instead go to your local Social Welfare Office and ask for the Birth Certificate to be photocopied and stamped with the details of the office. You can then post this photocopy.

If you are claiming Child Benefit for a child who is 16 or 17, you must complete Form CB2. The form must be certified by:

  • a school or college if your child is in full-time education
  • Youthreach if your child is attending Youthreach Training
  • a medical doctor if your child is physically or mentally disabled

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Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is designed to help meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for students in Ireland attending school. The scheme operates from June 1st to September 30th each year.

You must be receiving certain social welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education.

Your total household income must be below a certain amount.

For more information contact your local Community Welfare Officer (CWO) who is based at your local Health Centre.

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One-Parent Family Payment

One-Parent Family Payment is a payment for men and women in Ireland who are raising children without the support of a partner. It is payable to an unmarried person, a widow(er), a separated or divorced person, a person whose marriage has been annulled or a prisoner’s spouse. It is subject to certain conditions and you must satisfy a means test.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for a payment if you:

  • are the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a qualified child
  • are the main carer of at least one child and that child is living with you
  • are not cohabiting, that is, living with someone as a partner
  • have earnings of €425 (2016 figure) or less per week
  • satisfy a means test
  • satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition

The following conditions also apply:

  • if you are separated/divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved: you must have been separated for at least 3 months and you must have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse/civil partner
  • if your spouse/civil partner is in prison s/he must have been sentenced to prison for a term of at least 6 months or have been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced.

How long can I claim One-Parent Family Payment?

One-Parent Family Payment is payable for as long as you satisfy the qualifying conditions. The payment stops, however, if you marry or live with someone as husband and wife/civil partner or if you no longer have dependent children or if your earnings exceed €425 per week.

To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least one child below the relevant age limit. From 2 July 2015 the age limit is 7 years of age.

How do I apply?

To apply for One-Parent Family Payment, complete Form OPF1 and send it to your local social welfare office.

What if I do not qualify?

If your claim is refused you have the right to appeal the decision. If you do not qualify for One-Parent Family Payment you may be eligible for other payments. You should contact your Community Welfare Officer (CWO) in your local Health Centre or you can contact your local Social Welfare Office.

Note: If you are in employment you are exempt from the Health Contribution regardless of the level of your earnings, for as long as you are getting One-Parent Family payment. You should provide proof of payment to your employer.

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Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions

There are two types of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions:

  • Contributory Pension: You will be eligible for a contributory pension if you or your deceased spouse/civil partner have enough PRSI contributions.

For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to: www.welfare.ie

  • Non-Contributory Pension: if you or your deceased spouse/civil partner does not have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for a non-contributory pension, provided you pass a means test.

For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to: www.welfare.ie

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Information for young people

I am a teenager. What are my options for meeting other teenagers and getting involved in the local community?

You should check your local community centre as this is where most youth and sports groups meet. You can also contact Foroige and Youth Work Ireland.

You could also take part in Gaisce - the President’s Award which is Ireland’s National Challenge Award. It is the country’s most prestigious and respected individual award programme and a challenge from the President of Ireland to young people between 15 and 25 years of age. For more information go to: www.gaisce.ie

Head Office – Dublin
Gaisce – The President’s Award
Ratra House, North Road, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 6171999
Email: mail@gaisce.ie

Youth Work Ireland is a co-ordinating and development agency for Youth Services throughout the country, which seeks to give voice to the needs and aspirations of young people and to improve the quality of life for young people in the context of community based youth services: www.youthworkireland.ie

National Youth Council of Ireland seeks to ensure that all young people are empowered to develop the skills and confidence to fully participate as active citizens in an inclusive society. It is the representative body for national voluntary youth work organisations in Ireland: www.youth.ie

3 Montague Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 4784122
Email: info@nyci.ie

Dáil na nÓg is the National Youth Parliament of Ireland and gives young people the opportunity to represent, at a national level, the views of those under the voting age of 18.

Email: info@dailnanog.ie

SpunOut.ie is an independent, youth-led national charity working to empower young people to create personal and social change: www.spunout.ie

Seán MacBride House, Parliament Row, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6753554
Email: info@spunout.ie

Teen-Line Ireland provides information and support for teenagers through their helpline and website: www.teenline.ie

Free Phone: 1800 833 634
Email: info@teenline.ie

ISPCC Teenfocus provides a comprehensive support service, including out of hours access, to teenagers aged 13-18 years who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties.

ISPCC Childfocus provides a comprehensive one to one support service (including out of hours access) to children aged 12 years or under who may be experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Phone: 01 6767960
Email: ispcc@ispcc.ie

Crosscare’s Young Adult Support Centre aims to deliver programmes that will enable young people return to and remain in education and training. These group and individual activities are run together with external counselling and family and peer support.


Telephone: 01 8301188
Email: yass@crosscare.ie

Crosscare’s Teen Counselling is an ‘adolescent friendly’ service whose aim is to enable young people and their parents or carers deal with difficulties, within the context of the family: www.teencounselling.ie

Telephone: 01 5574705

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights in Ireland

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 provides for civil registration of same-sex partnerships with a range of rights and duties. For more information check out GLEN's immigration information leaflet for same-sex couples

There are a number of organisations who represent the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Ireland:

outhouse is the resource and community centre for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities in Dublin: www.outhouse.ie

105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8734999
Email: info@outhouse.ie

GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) works to achieve full equality and inclusion for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in Ireland, and protection from all forms of discrimination: www.glen.ie


Telephone: 01 6728650
Email: info@glen.ie

BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23: www.belongto.org

BeLonG To Youth Services
Parliament House, 13 Parliament Street, 1st/2nd Floor, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6706223
Email: info@belongto.org

MarriagEquality is an initiative working for civil marriage for gay and lesbian people: www.marriagequality.ie

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Senior citizens

Senior Help Line is a confidential listening service for older people by older people for the price of a local call anywhere in Ireland.

Help Line: 1850 440 444

Home help services are sometimes provided to older people so they can continue living in their own home instead of going into long-term care. For more information contact your local public health nurse.

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Getting married in Ireland

I would like to get married in Ireland. What do I need to do?

You must notify the local Registrar of your marriage (three months before the intended date of the marriage) and provide the following documents:

  • Passport as ID
  • Birth Certificate
  • If either of you are divorced, original final decrees in respect of all previous divorces
  • If either of you are widowed, death certificate of the previous spouse and the civil marriage certificate for the first marriage
  • Your PPS numbers (if you have one)
  • Fee of €150

You will also need to provide the following information:

  • the intended date of marriage,
  • whether you require a civil or religious ceremony,
  • the names and dates of birth of your witnesses, and
  • details of the proposed solemniser and venue.

I am divorced. Can I still get married in Ireland?

Yes. However, either you or your former spouse must have been living in the country where your divorce was granted. If neither of you were, then you may need to get divorced in Ireland before you can remarry.

For more information on getting married in Ireland go to: www.groireland.ie

General Register Office
Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.
Telephone: 090 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076

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Separation and Divorce

The Legal Aid Board's Family Mediation Service is a free, professional and confidential service for couples, married and non-married, who have decided to separate or divorce and who together want to negotiate the terms of their separation or divorce. There are Family Mediation Centres throughout the country. For more information contact the Legal Aid Board: www.legalaidboard.ie

How do I apply for a divorce in Ireland?

You must apply to the Circuit Family Court for a divorce decree which legally ends a marriage.

You must submit the following documents:

  • An application form called a Family Law Civil Bill
  • Form 37A which lists your income, assets and debts
  • Form 37B which provides information on your children
  • Form 37D which states that you have been advised of the alternatives to divorce.

The court will issue the divorce decree, if your marriage has broken down and you fulfill the following conditions:

  • You and your spouse have been living apart for four out of the previous five years before the application is made
  • There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation
  • Proper arrangements have been made or will be made for the spouse and any dependent members of the family.

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Family Law Courts

There are two courts which deal with family law issues – the District Family Court and the Circuit Family Court.

What does the District Family Court do?

The District Family Court deals with:

  • Domestic violence
  • Guardianship, custody and access to children
  • Passport applications for underage children where one guardian refuses to sign the form or their whereabouts is unknown
  • Blood tests to determine parentage
  • Guardianship for grandparents
  • Maintenance payments

You should contact your local District Family Law Office for more information: www.courts.ie

What does the Circuit Family Court do?

The Circuit Family Court deals with:

  • Divorce
  • Judicial Separation
  • Relief following a foreign divorce or separation outside the jurisdiction
  • Nullity of a marriage
  • Declaration of Marital Status
  • Determination of property disputes
  • Declarations of parentage

You should contact your local Circuit Family Law Office for more information: www.courts.ie

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Making a will

How do I make a legally valid will?

There are very strict guidelines for making a legally valid will. These are:

  • The person making the will must to over 18 years of age
  • The person must act of their own free will
  • The person must be of sound mind and memory and understand that they are making a will
  • The person must know the nature and extent of their property and be capable of recalling all of the people who will benefit from their estate
  • The will must be in writing
  • The will must be signed at the end by the person. If they cannot sign it then they must direct someone else to do so in their presence. The signature must be made in the presence of TWO witnesses who are both present at the same time
  • The witnesses must sign their signature in the presence of the person, but not necessarily in each other’s presence
  • A witness or their spouse cannot benefit under the will. If these formalities are not respected, the will may fail and, if so, the law in relation to intestacy (dying without a legally valid will) will then determine how your property is distributed.

Is it possible to write my own will?

Yes. However, due to the legal nature of writing a will you may like to consult a solicitor to do this for you. For more information see: www.flac.ie

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Funeral arrangements

A member of my family has died. Where can I get information about funeral arrangements?

For general information and contact details for local funeral directors you should contact

Irish Association of Funeral Directors
Mespil Business Centre, Mespil House, Sussex Road, Dublin 4
Telephone: 1800 927 111
Website: www.iafd.ie

What are the traditions and customs related to death in Ireland?

The majority of Irish people are Catholic. Therefore, when someone dies there is a wake which usually takes place in the person’s home. People come to the house to pay their respects to the family. The body is then taken to the church for the removal service. The following morning the funeral mass is said and the body is taken to a cemetery for burial or crematorium for cremation.

People close to the family usually give a floral wreath which is placed on the grave after burial. Other people usually get a mass said for the deceased which is written in a mass card and given to the family. A month after the funeral there is a mass said for the deceased. It is called the Month’s Mind.

You can find individual funeral arrangements on: www.rip.ie

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This page was updated on 20th March 2017

Community

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Discrimination & Racism

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What is discrimination?

In Ireland, discrimination has a specific meaning under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015. It is described as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the following nine grounds:

  • gender
  • marital status
  • family status
  • age
  • race
  • religion
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • membership of the Traveller community

There are different types of discrimination covered by legislation:

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another, in similar circumstances, based on one of the nine grounds.

Indirect discrimination is about practices or policies, which seem fair at first sight but which in effect, either intentionally or more often un-intentionally, result in discrimination against a minority ethnic group or groups.

Discrimination by association happens when a person associated with another person who belongs to a particular ethnic minority is treated less favourably because of that association.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in relation to employment or the provision of goods and services, you may be protected by equality legislation and you can report the incident to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission: www.ihrec.ie.
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Employment

The Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2015 prohibit direct and indirect discrimination in employment across the nine grounds. The Act covers advertising of a vacancy, equal pay, access to employment, vocational training and work experience, terms and conditions of employment, promotion or re-grading, classification of posts, dismissal and collective agreements.

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Goods and Services

The Equal Status Acts, 2000-2015 prohibits discrimination when trying to access goods and services on the nine grounds.

The Act applies to people who:

  • Buy and sell a wide variety of goods
  • use or provide a wide range of services
  • obtain or dispose of accommodation
  • attend at or are in charge of educational establishments

Examples of services include:

  • Banking, insurance, grants, loans, credit or financing
  • Entertainment, recreation or refreshment
  • Cultural activities
  • Transport or travel
  • A service or facility provided by a club which is available to the public or a section of the public
  • A professional trade or service

If you have questions in relation to discrimination, you should contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7.

Lo-call: 1890 245 545
Telephone: 01 8589601
Email: info@ihrec.ie
Website: www.ihrec.ie

While the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can provide you with information and assistance, it is the Workplace Relations Commission where official complaints in relation to equality legislation can be lodged. The Workplace Relations Commission is the impartial forum to hear or mediate complaints of alleged discrimination under equality legislation. It is independent and quasi-judicial and its decisions and mediated settlements are legally binding.

Workplace Relations Commission

Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road

Carlow

Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Telephone: 059 9178990
Website: www.workplacerelations.ie

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Making a Complaint: Practical Advice

Make a careful record of the incident and keep copies of all correspondence of your complaint, including completed forms.

Contact witnesses to the incident and gather evidence that will support your complaint, for example a written report by a doctor confirming your injuries if you suffered an assault.

What can I do if I have been a victim of racism?

If it is a racist crime, you should report this to the Gardaí (police).

Racist crime can include:

  • Assaults, including fatal assaults
  • Damage to property
  • Threatening behaviour, including verbal abuse and harassment
  • Incitement to hatred
  • Circulation of offensive material
  • Graffiti

A racist incident is any incident perceived to be racially motivated by:

  • the victim
  • a member of the Gardaí
  • a person who was present and witnessed the incident or
  • a person acting on behalf of the victim

If you believe that you are a victim of a racist crime you should report it to your local Garda station or in an emergency dial 999 or 112. You can also contact the Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office

Harcourt Square, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6663150/3817
Website: http://www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?Page=154

You can also report racist incidents to the Immigrant Council of Ireland. The Immigrant Council of Ireland's Racist Incident Supports and Referral Service provides a range of supports to people who have experienced or witnessed racism. The service is available from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Telephone: 01 6458058

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Links

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission works to ensure that the human rights of all people in the State are fully realised and protected, in law, in policy and in practice: www.ihrec.ie

16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8589601

Lo-call: 1890 245 245
Email: info@ihrec.ie

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Emergencies

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In the case of an emergency you should dial 999 or 112 (which is the European Emergency Number)

When should I call 112?

Call 112 in any emergency where an ambulance, fire brigade or police are needed.

You can make 112 calls from landlines, public telephones and mobiles and they are free of charge.

What happens when I call the emergency services?

An operator will answer your call. You should give your name, address and telephone number. This helps the operator to identify callers in case the same incident has been reported by other people.

I witnessed a crime. What should I do?

You should contact your local Garda Station or call the Garda Confidential Line.

Garda Confidential Line is a Free Phone number which allows you to leave information on criminal activities confidentially on a voice recorder, so you do not speak to any person. All details given are handled in the strictest confidence: 1800 666 111

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Domestic violence

If you are the victim of domestic violence you can contact a support organisation for people in violent or abusive relationships. If you are a woman you can contact your local women’s domestic service – for a full list of women’s domestic violence support organisations see: www.safeireland.ie. If you are a man you can contact Amen: www.amen.ie. A domestic violence support organisation will provide you with practical and emotional support, information and advocacy.

You can report any physical or sexual attacks by your spouse or partner to the Gardaí (police) and/or seek a civil protection order from the courts. A domestic violence support organisation can also give you information on this.

If you have been physically hurt you should go to a doctor or hospital to ensure your injuries are treated and documented.

If your immigration status is dependent on your spouse or partner you should inform your local Immigration Officer of the situation.

Safe Ireland – creating safety for women and children
Unit 5 Centre Court, Blyry Business Park, Co. Westmeath.
Telephone: 090 6479078
Email: office@safeireland.ie

Amen is a voluntary group which provides a confidential helpline, a support service and information for male victims of domestic violence.

St. Anne’s Resource Centre, Railway Street, Navan, Co. Meath.
Telephone: 046 9023718
Email: info@amen.ie

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Human Trafficking

The United Nations Palermo Trafficking Protocol (or the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime) provides an international definition of trafficking.

Trafficking in human beings is a form of modern day slavery. It involves: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits, to control a person for the purposes of exploitation.

Smuggling does not usually involve the coercion or deception of an individual to be moved. It is the illegal transportation of an individual or group of people across borders with false or stolen documents. For more information see: www.blueblindfold.gov.ie

Blue Blindfold Campaign
Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Department of Justice and Law Reform, 94 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
Free Phone: 1800 25 00 25
Email: blueblindfold@garda.ie

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Prostitution

Many people who are trafficked to Ireland end up in the sex industry here. There are different groups which can offer assistance:

Ruhama works with women involved in prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation, including women who are victims of sex trafficking. For information in different languages go to: www.ruhama.ie

25 Cork Street, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 8360292
Email: admin@ruhama.ie

The Women’s Health Project is a sexual health and support service for women working in prostitution. The project provide sexual health screening, addiction services, outreach to streets and parlours, training and education workshops. 

Baggot Street Clinic, 19 Haddington Road, Dublin 4
Telephone: 01 6699515
Free Phone: 1800 201 187

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Sexual assault and rape

If you are the victim of sexual assault or rape the following organisations can help you:

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a national organisation offering a wide range of services to women and men who are affected by rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or childhood sexual abuse. The services include a national 24-hour helpline, one to one counselling, court accompaniment, outreach services, training, awareness raising and lobbying: www.drcc.ie

70 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6614911
Free Phone: 1800 778 888
Email: info@indigo.ie

Rape Crisis Network Ireland is the national rape crisis body in Ireland. Their website guarantees accurate and up to date contact details and helplines for all rape crisis centres in Ireland: www.rcni.ie

One in Four offers a voice to and support for women and men who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence and also to their family and friends: www.oneinfour.ie

2 Holles Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6624070
Email: info@oneinfour.ie

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Court

I have to go to court. I am not sure if I will understand everything that is said. Am I entitled to have an interpreter present?

Yes. You are entitled to have an interpreter at legal proceedings. You should inform the court that you will require an interpreter.

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This page was last updated on 20th March 2017.

Getting Around

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Public Transport

What are the public transport systems in Ireland?

There are various bus and train public transport systems in Ireland. There are also a number of private bus companies which cater for commuter and local services.

Bus

Bus Éireann is the main provider of public bus services in Ireland: www.buseireann.ie

In Dublin City and the surrounding areas the main public provider of bus transport is Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus also offers Nitelink services which operate on Friday and Saturday nights from 12 midnight until 4am and depart from College Street, D’Olier Street and Westmoreland Street. For a list of routes go to: www.dublinbus.ie

Photo by: infomatique

Train

Irish Rail provides train services between many major towns and cities in Ireland: www.irishrail.ie

In Dublin there are other rail services; the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and the LUAS (light rail service). Check www.dart.ie and www.luas.ie for more details.

All the above websites provide details about routes, stops, timetables and prices.

How do I get to and from the airport?

For information on getting to and from the 3 international airports see below:

Dublin: www.dublinairport.com

Cork: www.corkairport.com

Shannon: www.shannonairport.com

There are also 6 regional airports:

Knock: www.irelandwestairport.com

Kerry: www.kerryairport.com

Galway: www.galwayairport.com

Waterford: www.waterfordairport.ie

Donegal: www.donegalairport.ie

Sligo: www.sligoairport.com

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Taxis and Hackneys

What is the difference between a taxi and a hackney?

A taxi

  • can stand for hire at a taxi rank or on the street
  • must display a taxi sign on top of the car.

A hackney

  • should be hired on a private basis through a hackney office
  • cannot be hailed down in a public place
  • driver should agree the fare with the customer before the journey starts.

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Free Travel Scheme

Anyone over 66 years of age can travel for free on most public transport services

Anyone who is under 66 years of age with an incapacity may also be eligible for a free travel pass.

For more information search for ‘Free Travel’ on www.welfare.ie

How do I apply for a Free Travel pass?

You should complete Form FT1 and send it to the Free Travel Section:

Freepost
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo

Driving in Ireland

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Driver’s Licence

Can I use a non-Irish driving licence in Ireland?

If you got your driving licence in one of the following countries you can drive in Ireland for a temporary period of up to 12 months. If you are staying in Ireland for more than 12 months and your licence is from one of these countries you can exchange your driving licence for an Irish one: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

If you did not obtain your driving licence from any of the above countries and you hold a national driving licence or an international driving permit from another country, you may drive in Ireland for the duration of your temporary visit (up to 12 months). If your stay in Ireland will be more than 12 months, you should apply for an Irish driving licence.

How do I exchange my driver’s licence for an Irish driver’s licence?

You must complete:

  • An “Exchange of Driving Licence” Form (Form D900)
  • An application form for a full driving licence (Form A.D401)
  • You will also need to undergo a medical examination by a registered doctor who will complete a medical report form (Form D501) on your behalf

These forms are available from your local Motor Tax Office. Completed Forms should be returned to your local Motor Tax Office.

What documents do I need to provide?

  • 2 passport photographs (you must sign the back of both photos)
  • Your current driving licence (it must be valid)
  • The appropriate fee (contact your local Motor Tax Office for more details)

Do I need to get a medical report when applying for a driving licence in Ireland?

You must get your doctor to complete a medical report form (Form D501) if you are exchanging your licence or if you are applying for a driving licence for categories C, C1, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1, or ED. You do not need this if you have previously provided a medical report that is still valid.

A medical report is compulsory for any driving category if you:

  • are aged 70 or more or
  • you suffer from any disabilities, epilepsy or alcoholism or if you regularly take drugs or medication that are likely to impair your ability to drive safely.

A registered practitioner should carry out your medical examination and then complete Form D401. This form is available from the Motor Tax Office or your local Garda station. You must sign the Declaration on the medical report form in the presence of the registered medical practitioner.

How do I apply for an Irish driver’s licence?

To apply for a driver’s licence, you must:

  • Complete a driver theory test (see www.dtts.ie for more details. This test is only available through English.)
  • Apply for your provisional driver’s licence (Form D.201)
  • Take 12 one-hour essential driver training (EDT) lessons with an approved driving instructor. Your progress is recorded in a special logbook. You should also have an experienced driver who supervises your driving practice and updates your logbook. When taking the driving test, you may need to show your completed logbook to the examiner.
  • Complete your driving test in Ireland. For details on the waiting time for your local centre see: www.rsa.ie

Note: You are required to carry your driver’s licence with you when driving in Ireland.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information by ringing 1890 406 040 or by contacting:

The Driver Testing Section
Road Safety Authority, Moy Valley Business Park, Primrose Hill, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Email: drivingtest@rsa.ie
Website: www.rsa.ie

Details of your local Motor Tax Office are available from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government on 1890 411 412 or 061 363480 or www.environ.ie

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Motor Insurance

Do I need Motor Insurance to drive a vehicle in Ireland?

Yes. It is a legal requirement in Ireland to have motor insurance if you want to drive your car in a public place. Otherwise, you will incur fines, penalty points and may be disqualified from driving.

Note: Some insurance companies will give a bonus to people who have a no-claims bonus from an EU country or another country with similar insurance laws.

Where can I find out more information about motor insurance in Ireland?

Individual insurance companies have customer service departments that will give you information on their policy options.

A useful service is the Insurance Information Service. This is an information and complaints telephone service operated by the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF). Its purpose is to answer policyholders’ questions and help resolve problems.

Insurance Information Service
39 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6761820
Website: www.iif.ie

Note: In Ireland motor insurance applies to the driver not the car. Therefore, if someone else drives your car they must make sure that their insurance policy covers them.

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Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

If I am importing my vehicle from another country into Ireland will I have to pay tax on it?

This will depend on your situation as there are some exemptions. Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), a percentage of the expected retail price of the imported vehicle, is chargeable on registration of the vehicle in Ireland. All motor vehicles in the state other than those brought in temporarily by visitors must be registered.

Exemptions from Paying Vehicle Registration Tax

There are different reliefs and exemptions from VRT. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you come to Ireland. The following groups are exempt from paying VRT:

  • Certain disabled drivers
  • Visitors to Ireland who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who will be resident here temporarily
  • People who have owned their vehicles abroad for more than 6 months and who are moving permanently to Ireland
  • People posted to Ireland as part of the diplomatic corps

Note: If you are moving to Ireland and are among those exempt from paying VRT you cannot sell your vehicle for more than 12 months after the vehicle is registered. If you are required to pay VRT, then you can sell your vehicle in Ireland when you wish, once it has been registered. Further information is available from your local Vehicle Registration Office.

How do I pay Vehicle Registration Tax?

You can register the car and pay the Vehicle Registration Tax at a Vehicle Registration Office. Further information about Vehicle Registration Tax and locations of Vehicle Registration Offices around Ireland can be got from the central Vehicle Registration Office:

St. John’s House, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Telephone: 01 4149700
Website: www.revenue.ie

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Motor Tax

What is Motor Tax?

Motor Tax is a separate charge from Vehicle Registration Tax. For cars registered before July 2008 the amount of motor tax payable depends on the size of the vehicle’s engine. For new cars registered since 1st July 2008, motor tax is proportionate to the amount of CO2 emitted. It is a legal requirement in Ireland to have motor tax if you want to drive your vehicle in a public place. You are also required to display your tax disc on the windscreen of your vehicle as evidence that you have paid your motor tax. Failure to display the disc is considered a motoring offence and will result in an on-the-spot fine issued by a traffic warden or a Garda.

Where can I find more information?

For more information or to apply for Motor Tax contact the local authority in your area: www.environ.ie or www.motortax.ie

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Vehicle Testing

What is an NCT and do I need one?

An NCT is a National Car Test. Since 2002 all cars four years old or more must be tested. Vehicles that pass the test will have to undergo repeat tests every 2 years (or every year for 10 year old or older cars). The test is aimed at improving road safety and enhancing environmental protection by ensuring the car meets minimum standards. If your vehicle does not pass, the faults will have to be rectified and the vehicle will have to be re-tested.

Where can I book a National Car Test and find out more information about it?

There are National Car Test centres all over the country. For information on your nearest NCT centre contact:

The Booking Department, National Car Test Service Ltd.

Citywest Business Campus, Lakedrive 3026, Naas Road, Dublin 24
Telephone: 1890 412 413
Website: www.ncts.ie

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Speed Limits

In Ireland all speed limits are signposted in kilometres per hour (kph).

Speed Limit (kilometres per hour)

Where it applies

30 km

Special speed limit applies to designated roads or zones

50 km

Built-up areas for example towns and cities

60 km

Special speed limit applies to designated roads or zones

80 km

Regional and local (secondary) roads

100 km

National roads (including dual carriageways)

120 km

Motorways

Note: vehicles under 50 cc, bicycles, pedestrians, animals and learner drivers are not allowed on motorways in Ireland

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Penalty Points

A system of penalty points was introduced in Ireland in 2002 to save lives and prevent injuries from road accidents. Penalty points are essentially a formal warning by the Gardaí (police) endorsed on your driving licence that shows you are guilty of a specified driving offence. Offences that incur penalty points include speeding, driving without insurance, careless driving, seatbelt offences, dangerous overtaking and blocking junctions. Any driver that receives 12 penalty points in any 3 year period will be automatically faced with a 6-month disqualification from driving.

Details of Penalty Points are available at www.penaltypoints.ie. New offences that were added in 2006 are also available to view in different languages on this site.

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Road Signs

Dangerous corner aheadDangerous corner ahead

Series of dangerous corners aheadSeries of dangerous corners ahead

Series of dangerous bends aheadSeries of dangerous bends ahead

Staggered junction with roads of less importanceStaggered junction with roads of less importance

Roundabout aheadRoundabout ahead

Junction ahead with road of less importanceJunction ahead with road of less importance

Road narrows aheadJunction ahead with road of less importance (continued)

Junction ahead with road of equal importance or widthRoad narrows ahead

Junction ahead with road of equal importance or widthJunction ahead with road of equal importance or width

Two-way trafficTwo-way traffic

Low bridge aheadLow bridge ahead

Advance warning of a major roadAdvance warning of a major road

Sharp depression aheadSharp depression ahead

Series of bumps or hollows aheadSeries of bumps or hollows ahead

Sharp rise aheadSharp rise ahead

Unprotected quay, canal or river aheadUnprotected quay, canal or river ahead

Steep ascent aheadSteep ascent ahead

Steep descent aheadSteep descent ahead

Level crossing ahead, guarded by gates or lifting barriersLevel crossing ahead, guarded by gates or lifting barriers

StopStop

Yield right of wayYield right of way

No left turnNo left turn

No entryNo entry

No right turnNo right turn

No parking No parking

Keep leftKeep left

Turn leftTurn left

Turn rightTurn right

Straight ahead onlyStraight ahead only

Parking permittedParking permitted

Speed limitSpeed limit

End of speed limit – National Speed Limit appliesEnd of speed limit – National Speed Limit applies

Clearway stoppingClearway stopping

Taxi ranksTaxi ranks

Pedestrian street, traffic prohibitedPedestrian street, traffic prohibited

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Information Signs

These signs give information regarding direction, distance and location. They may have black lettering on a white background or white lettering on a green background such as those illustrated.

Entry to motorwayEntry to motorway

Approaching end of motorwayApproaching end of motorway

Roadside facilitiesRoadside facilities

Camping and caravan parkCamping and caravan park

Road narrows ahead at left sideRoad narrows ahead at left side

Traffic crossover aheadTraffic crossover ahead

Traffic lights aheadTraffic lights ahead

Diverted trafficDiverted traffic

Major road works aheadMajor road works ahead

I would like to buy a car? Where should I start?

You can buy a new or used car from:

I have bought a new car. I would like to scrap my old car. How do I do this?

Cars or light commercial vehicles which are to be scrapped are called end-of-life vehicles (ELV). Since January 2007 the registered owner must deposit the vehicle at an authorised treatment facility (ATF) who cannot charge for taking the vehicle. When the vehicle is destroyed the owner receives a certificate of destruction.

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Consumer Rights

Consumer rights are protected by Irish and EU law. If you are not happy with goods or services you have purchased you have the right to make a complaint.

For further information contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission: www.consumerhelp.ie 
Consumer helpline: 1890 432 432 or 01 4025555

According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission you should:

  • Know your rights before you make a complaint
  • Act quickly
  • Know who to contact
  • First of all make the complaint verbally
  • Make a more formal complaint in writing if your verbal complaint was not successful (template letters are available from www.consumerconnect.ie)
  • Finally you may take your complaint further depending on the type of complaint, for example:

o Small Claims Court

o Financial Services Ombudsman

If you are not sure who to make the complaint to you should contact your local Citizens Information Centre or the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for assistance.

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Welfare

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Content to be added

Social Welfare

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1. PRSI & work related payments

2. Family

3. Disability

4. Housing

5. HRC

6. Emergency payments

7. Appeals

Education

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Access to education based on immigration status

Children

Children residing in Ireland are entitled to attend primary and post-primary school. However, there are specific guidelines for children of non-EEA students. For further information go to: www.inis.gov.ie

Adults

Anyone on Stamp 1, 2, 3, or 4 can access education but may have to pay full tuition fees. However, if there is a paid work placement element to the course then this may require a change of immigration status to enable the person to work.

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Education for Children

Every child in Ireland is entitled to free, state-run primary and post-primary education. Attendance at full-time education is compulsory for all children between six and sixteen years of age. Although children in Ireland are not obliged to attend school until the age of six, the majority of children begin school in the September following their fourth birthday.

While primary and post-primary education is free, there are a number of costs involved. The main ones are uniforms and books (see Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance in Family Section). It is also possible to send your children to fee paying secondary schools and to private primary and secondary schools.

Do parents meet with the teachers?

Yes. At primary and post-primary level parent-teacher meetings are held during the school year. Your child’s school will let you know the date and time of the meeting. If you wish to meet with the class teacher outside of these meetings you should contact the school and arrange a meeting.

My child doesn’t speak Irish (Gaeilge), will he/she have to learn it?

Irish is normally compulsory in primary and post-primary schools. However, the following students may be exempt from studying Irish:

  • Students whose primary education up to 11 years of age was received in Northern Ireland or outside Ireland
  • Students who were enrolled in a primary or post-primary school and who are now enrolling again having been abroad. The student must have been abroad for at least three years. The student must be at least 11 years of age when re-enrolling
  • Students who function at an average or above-average level of ability, but who have a specific learning difficulty, or a general learning disability, so that they are not learning, or cannot reach expected attainment levels in their mother tongue.

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Primary Schools

The school year for primary school children is from September until the end of June. The primary school cycle is 8 years long starting with 2 years of infant classes and followed by 1st to 6th class.

What types of primary schools are available?

The Irish primary education sector consists of state-funded primary schools and private primary schools. State-funded primary schools are also known as ‘national schools’. Primary schools are generally administered by Boards of Management. State-funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna (schools that teach through Irish). For a list of schools go to ‘Find a School’ on www.education.ie. You can also contact your local CIC (Citizens Information Centre), located nationwide: www.citizensinformation.ie

How do I get a place for my child in a primary school?

You should contact your local primary school to get a copy of its enrolment policy and a copy of its enrolment form. You should apply in writing for a school place as early as possible due to long waiting lists in many areas. You will need a copy of your child’s Birth Certificate when enrolling your child in school. All schools are required to enrol in accordance with their enrolment policies. Problems can arise in securing a school place if classes are full and if there is a waiting list for school places. Some post-primary schools give priority to students from certain primary schools so it may be useful to plan ahead when choosing a primary school for your child.

What role does religion play in Irish schools?

The majority of Irish primary schools are Roman Catholic. There are other denominational schools catering for children of the Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Roman Catholic children receive their First Holy Communion in second class and children in sixth class prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

There are also many multi-denominational and non-denominational schools. All schools are required by law to enrol children in accordance with their enrolment policy. That policy may state that the school may give priority to children of a particular religious faith but it may also admit children with other or no religious beliefs. Children of other faiths do not have to attend religion classes. They have a legal right to this option under the Education Act, 1998.

For more information about primary schools go to: ‘The Education System'’ then ‘Primary'’ on www.education.ie

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Post-Primary Schools

The post-primary school year generally runs from the first week in September to the first week in June but some schools are open in August. The State Examinations are sat during the month of June: www.examinations.ie

What types of post-primary schools are available?

The post-primary school system includes secondary schools (some of which are fee paying), vocational schools, community or comprehensive schools and private schools. Fees charged by private secondary schools can vary considerably. You will need to check with each individual school. Secondary schools are owned, managed and often run by religious orders, although the teachers in these schools are generally non-religious staff. Vocational schools and community or comprehensive schools/colleges often provide additional further education opportunities for school-leavers and adults in the local community.

For a full list of post-primary schools go to ‘Find a School’ on www.education.ie.

How do I enrol my child in a post-primary school?

Contact the school directly. You should enrol your child as early as possible as many schools operate a waiting list.

What is the curriculum in post-primary schools?

At post-primary level there are two cycles: the junior cycle which ends with the Junior Certificate examinations and the senior cycle which ends with the Leaving Certificate examinations. Generally students take 8 or 9 subjects for the Junior Certificate examinations and 6 or 7 subjects for the Leaving Certificate examinations. Core subjects include: Mathematics, Irish and English. Students sit the examinations at either Higher Level or Ordinary Level. Irish and Mathematics can also be studied at Foundation Level. This level is for students who have difficulty with these subjects.

There are three options in the Leaving Certificate programme:

1. The Established Leaving Certificate Programme which is the most widely taken programme

2. The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) which is similar to the Established Programme with added vocational content and technical subjects

3. The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) is a programme consisting of practical projects and portfolio work.

Some post-primary schools also offer the Transition Year programme between the junior cycle and senior cycle. For more information go to: www.tyireland.com

For more information about post-primary schools go to ‘The Education System’ then ‘Post Primary’ on www.education.ie.

Youthreach is an essential part of the national programme of second-chance education and training in Ireland. It is directed at unemployed young early school leavers between 15 and 20 years of age. For more information go to: www.youthreach.ie

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Third level education

Third level education consists of Higher Education and Further Education.

What is Higher Education?

In Ireland Higher Education usually refers to courses in the:

  • seven universities (National University of Ireland Maynooth, National University of Ireland Cork, National University of Ireland Galway, University of Limerick, Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin)
  • fourteen institutes of technology: www.thea.ie
  • five teacher training colleges. These are state sponsored institutions but there are also some private fee-paying colleges.

These colleges can collectively be called Higher Education Institutions: www.education.ie

How do I access Higher Education?

There are a number of criteria governing entry to Higher Education in Ireland. These include:

  • course entry requirements
  • age
  • legal status

Note: There may be a separate application process for mature students (over 23 years of age)

Entrance to Higher Education in Ireland is generally decided by competition. At the end of your post-primary education, you sit the Leaving Certificate State Examination and the six best grades you receive (in the Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme) are converted into points (see table below). These points are calculated and Higher Education places are awarded on this basis. 600 points is the highest that you can obtain. For entry to some Higher Education courses you must satisfy the course entry requirements, such as specific grades in listed subjects, for example, Maths and Irish.

Grade

Higher Level

Ordinary Level

A1

100

60

A2

90

50

B1

85

45

B2

80

40

B3

75

35

C1

70

30

C2

65

25

C3

60

20

D1

55

15

D2

50

10

D3

45

5

Applications for third level courses are made through the CAO (Central Applications Office): www.cao.ie

Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway

Telephone: 091 509800

For a full list of Higher Education courses see: www.qualifax.ie

What if I completed my secondary school exams in another country?

If you have taken your post-primary school exams under another system in another country you will need to check whether your qualifications satisfy the course entry requirements. To do so it is advisable to contact the relevant course provider.

Can I access financial support?

Free fees: If you are an EU/EEA national or have official refugee status and you have been normally resident in an EU member/EEA state for at least three of the five years before beginning third-level education, you will not be charged fees for approved full-time undergraduate courses in state-run universities and Institutes of Technology. You may however have to pay a smaller amount for registration and exams. Funding is not awarded where students already hold an undergraduate degree, change their course during their studies or have to repeat a year of their course.

EU fees: If you are an EU/EEA citizen or have official refugee status and you have received all your post-primary education in the EU/EEA but have not been resident in an EU state for three of the five years before beginning third-level education you will qualify for EU fees. Alternatively, if you are not an EU citizen but you have been residing in an EU country for three of the last five years before entering third-level education you may be eligible for EU fees.

Non-EU fees: If you are applying for a place at third level as an overseas student, you will be charged full tuition fees.

If you choose to enrol in a private college, you will have to pay annual fees. These vary from college to college.

Note: If your immigration status changes while you are attending third level education (for example, if you become an Irish citizen) you still pay the same fee as when you started your course.

For more information on fees go to: www.studentfinance.ie

Is there tax relief on student fees?

Tax relief at standard rate is available for fees in approved Higher Education Institutions, contact your local tax office for more details.

What about maintenance grants?

For information on maintenance grants and about different financial support options go to: www.studentfinance.ie and www.susi.ie 

What standard of English is required to be accepted to a Higher Education Institution in Ireland?

English is generally the main language of instruction at all Higher Education Institutions in Ireland so you will need to demonstrate that you have the required language proficiency needed for the course. Institutions’ requirements differ but generally they look for an acceptable English language proficiency test, for example the TIE (Test of Interactive English) or equivalent.

English classes are available throughout Ireland:

Education and Training Boards Ireland provide English classes: www.etbi.ie 

MEI is an association of 69 high quality English Language Schools, operating language courses in over 120 locations around Ireland: www.mei.ie

Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 6180910/11

ACELS – The Advisory Council for English Language Schools was established in 1969 to control standards in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) schools and organisations: www.acels.ie

26-27 Denzille Lane, Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 9058185

Email: info@acels.ie

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Further Education

What is Further Education?

Further Education takes place following second level schooling and not in a Higher Education Institution. Some courses at this level may facilitate entry to Higher Education.

There are a variety of ways to continue your education. Your local Education and Training Boards Ireland training centre may have some suitable options – check www.etbi.ie for contact details. Institutes of Technology and universities also offer adult and community education options and lifelong learning courses.

Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are open to school-leavers and adult participants who would like to gain vocational or technological skills. For a full list of PLC courses go to: www.education.ie

QualifaX is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database and is part of National Qualifications Authority of Ireland: www.qualifax.ie

VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) offers unemployed people an opportunity of returning to structured learning: www.qualifax.ie

The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) provides part-time Further Education programmes for young people and adults. It gives people an opportunity to combine education and learning with family, work and other responsibilities. Anyone who has left full-time education can take part in a course but priority is given to those with less than upper second level education. Fees will not be charged for people who are in receipt of social welfare entitlements or hold medical cards. For more information go to: www.education.ie

I have qualifications obtained in a country outside of Ireland; will these qualifications be recognised in Ireland?

See Working in Ireland section.

Links

Department of Education and Skills: www.education.ie
Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8734700

National Parents Council Primary works with parents, teachers and the Minister for Education to improve the education system and provide better resources for primary education: www.npc.ie

12 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8874034
Helpline: 01 8874477

For information about the primary school system (in Arabic, Chinese and Russian) go to www.npc.ie

National Parents Council – Post Primary (NPCPP) is the voice and advocate for parents and guardians of young people in post-primary education. It serves and represents parents and guardians, principally through engagement with Parents Associations: www.npcpp.ie

The NPCPP also operates a Leaving Certificate Helpline which opens at 10am on the day the exam results are released: 1800 265 165

Building 125, OMNI Shopping Centre, Santry, Dublin 9
Telephone: 01 8302740 
Email: npcpp@eircom.net

State Examinations Commission is responsible for the provision and quality of Irish State Examinations: www.examinations.ie

Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
Telephone: 090 6442700

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment works to improve the quality of education through continuous review of curriculum and assessment provision: www.ncca.ie

35 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6617177
Email: info@ncca.ie

National Council for Special Education was set up to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children: www.ncse.ie

1-2 Mill Street, Trim, Co. Meath
Telephone: 046 9486400

National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is a service of the Department of Education and Skills. NEPS psychologists work with both primary and post-primary schools and they are concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development.

Head Office
Department of Education and Skills, Floor 2, Block 1, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8892700

Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland provides information on the education system in different languages and also template letters for parents and schools to use: www.jrs.ie (go to ‘Resources’ then ‘Schools’)

The Mews, 20 Gardiner Street Upper, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8148644

Della Strada, Dooradoyle Road, Limerick
Telephone: 061 480922

Crosscare's Community College gives the local community the opportunity to learn and/or teach new skills. 

Crosscare Community Education Programme,
19 Arran Quay, Dublin 7

Telephone: 01 8725055

www.schooldays.ie is an online resource for parents and children.

www.irelandstats.com is an online resource on social and public life in Ireland. It has an education section where you can find data on locations of schools and numbers of classes, students and teachers, class size and other related statistics for a specific school.

 

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Health

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Introduction to the Irish healthcare system

The Irish healthcare system is divided into public and private services. Both services are provided by GPs and the Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for providing public and community health services. There are three types of hospitals: HSE hospitals, voluntary hospitals and private hospitals. For a more comprehensive guide to the Irish Health Service go to www.hse.ie.

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GP services

What is a General Practitioner (GP)?

A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who provides health services to people in his/her surgery or in the patient’s home. If you do not have a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card you will have to pay for the service.

There are no set fees in Ireland for GP services. If you wish to check costs, contact your local surgery directly. At present, charges are approximately €60 per visit.

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Public Health Care

If you are “ordinarily resident”, you can access a range of public health services that are free of charge or subsidised by the Irish government. Generally, if you are living here and intend to continue to stay here for at least a year, you will be considered “ordinarily resident”.

There are two types of patient in the public healthcare system:

  • Category 1 - People with Medical Cards (full entitlement to access public health services)
  • Category 2 - People without Medical Cards (limited access to public health services).

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Entitlement to hospital care

What if I have a serious accident or become suddenly very ill – can I go to a hospital Emergency Department (ED)?

Anybody in Ireland with a medical emergency is entitled to attend the Emergency Department. A patient visiting the Emergency Department will either be treated and sent home or will be admitted to a ward as an in-patient.

Note: Different hospitals treat different sicknesses and emergencies, for example, maternity hospitals only treat maternity related emergencies while general hospitals will treat most emergencies.

What are ‘out-patient’ and ‘in-patient’ services?

Out-patient services generally include Emergency Department services as well as planned services, for example, specialist assessment by a consultant or diagnostic assessments such as x-rays, laboratory tests and physiotherapy.

In general, you may refer yourself to the Emergency Department of a public or voluntary hospital. You do not incur hospital charges if you are referred by a GP. You do not have to pay for consultants’ services but you do not have a choice of consultants. If you are a private patient you can choose the consultant.

If you are in a public ward under the care of a consultant for treatment and you remain overnight, you are receiving in-patient services. If you do not remain overnight you are receiving day services.

What are the charges if I go to hospital in Ireland?

This will depend on your personal circumstances and also whether you are accessing ‘out-patient’ or ‘in-patient’ services.

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Out-Patient Charges

If you go to the out-patients or Emergency Department of a public hospital without being referred there by your GP, you may be charged €100. This charge does not apply to the following groups:

  • Medical card holders
  • People receiving treatment for prescribed infectious diseases
  • Children with the following diseases and disabilities: mental handicap, mental illness, phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, haemophilia and cerebral palsy. 
  • People who are entitled to hospital services because of EU Regulations

In cases of excessive hardship, a HSE Area may provide the service free of charge.

If you have to return for further visits in relation to the same illness or accident, you do not have to pay the charge again.

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In-Patient and Day Service Charges

The charge for in-patient/day services is €80 per day up to a maximum of €800 in a year (2017 charges). The charge does not apply to the following groups:

  • Medical card holders
  • People receiving treatment for prescribed infectious diseases
  • People who are subject to “long stay” charges
  • People who are entitled to hospital services because of EU Regulations

In cases of excessive hardship, a HSE Area may provide the service free of charge.

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National Treatment Purchase Fund

Under the National Treatment Purchase Fund, public patients who are waiting longest for an operation or procedure on a public hospital in-patient or day case waiting list can have their operation in a private hospital: www.ntpf.ie

Ashford House, Tara Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: (01) 642 7101

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The Medical Card

What is a Medical Card?

A medical card is issued by a Health Service Executive (HSE) Area in Ireland. Medical card holders are entitled to receive certain health services free of charge.

What health services are available free of charge if I have a Medical Card?

  • Doctor visits: A range of GP services from a chosen doctor in your local area
  • Prescription Medicines: The supply of prescribed approved medicines, aids and appliances such as wheelchairs and crutches. In some cases a deposit will be required for equipment. There is a €2.50 charge on prescriptions. 
  • Certain dental, eye and ear health services
  • Hospital Care: All in-patient services in public wards in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Hospital visits: All out-patient services in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Maternity Cash Grant on the birth of each child
  • Medical and Midwifery Care for Mothers, including health care related to pregnancy and the care of the child for six weeks after birth
  • Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services based on client need

For more information regarding the above, please contact your local Health Centre.

You may also be entitled to the following additional benefits (from the relevant government department)

  • Exemption from paying the health portion of your social insurance (PRSI)
  • Free transport to school for children who live 3 miles or more from the nearest school
  • Exemption from state examination fees in public second-level schools
  • Financial help with buying school books

Am I entitled to a medical card?

Anyone over the age of 16 years who is ordinarily resident in the State is entitled to apply for a Medical Card.

You can qualify for a Medical Card under the following three main categories:

  • Means Test: People (and their dependents) whose income is within the financial guidelines
  • Undue Financial Hardship: People whose income is over the financial guidelines but the HSE decides that the financial burden of medical or other exceptional circumstances would cause undue hardship
  • Automatic: People who are automatically entitled to a Medical Card.

Does the medical card cover my family?

A medical card normally covers you (the cardholder), your spouse and any children under 16 or children who are full-time students aged 16-25 and financially dependent on you.

Where a couple has separate incomes, their application for a medical card is assessed on the basis of their combined income.

How do I apply?

You must contact your nearest Health Centre for an application form or www.medicalcard.ie. If you are under 70 years of age ask for Form MC1 and if you are over 70 years of age ask for Form MC1a.

  • You must complete the application form and get your GP to sign it
  • You must have a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, which you can apply for at your local social welfare office

Medical card assessments based on a means test make allowances for rent or mortgage payments, childcare expenses and travel to work expenses. Income is assessed after tax and PRSI are deducted.

Can I use my Irish medical card if I am abroad on holidays?

No. The medical card is not recognised outside Ireland.

My medical card will expire in 2 months. How can I renew it?

The medical card section will send you are a review form six weeks before your medical card expires. You should complete the form and send it back to them. They will then decide if you still fulfil the requirements for a medical card.

What if I am not eligible for a medical card?

If you are not eligible for a medical card then you will be charged a fee for doctor and hospital services. However, if you do not qualify for a medical card you may qualify for a GP Visit Card. 

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GP Visit Cards

This card entitles holders to free GP services; however, they will have to pay for hospital services and a limited amount for prescription drugs. To apply for a GP Visit Card, you use the same application form for a medical card. While your GP Visit Card application is being processed, the HSE will also assess your entitlement for a full medical card.

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Drug Payment Scheme

The Drug Payment Scheme allows individuals and families who do not hold medical cards to limit the amount they have to spend on prescribed drugs. Under the Drug Payment Scheme, you will not pay more than €100 in any calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances.

If you are ordinarily resident in Ireland, you are eligible to apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme. You can use the Drug Payment Scheme in conjunction with a Long Term Illness Book. Application forms are available from your local pharmacy or contact your local health centre for more information.

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Long-Term Illness Scheme

The Long-Term Illness Scheme allows people with certain conditions, who are not already medical cardholders, to obtain the medicines and medical and surgical appliances they require for the treatment of their condition, without charge. You do not have to satisfy a means test. The conditions included in the scheme are:

  • Intellectual disability
  •  Acute leukaemia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mental illness (in a person under 16)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Parkinsonism
  • Epilepsy
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Haemophilia
  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide

If approved, you will be issued with a long-term illness book. Your pharmacist will provide you with the necessary drugs free of charge.

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Maternity and Infant Services

The Health Service Executive provides free maternity services for the period of pregnancy and for 6 weeks after the birth. The service is provided by your GP. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to avail of this service.

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Health Services for People with Disabilities

The Disability Act 2005 allows for an assessment of the needs of a person with disabilities. For more information on health services for people with disabilities go to: http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/disability/

Where can I get more information?

Contact the HSE infoline from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.
Callsave: 1850 24 1850
Email: infoline1@hse.ie
Website: www.hse.ie

The Migrant Disability Network Ireland (MDNI) aims to provide expert and compassionate support to children from migrant/minority backgrounds who are living with physical/intellectual disabilities. Website: www.migrantdisabilitynetwork.com

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Private Health Care

You can avail of private health care if you can pay for it directly or you are covered by a private health insurance policy. Some employers offer health insurance as part of an employment package.

It is usual practice that no immediate private health insurance coverage is available for medical conditions existing before taking out a private health insurance policy. The restriction shall be removed upon the following periods of continuous membership: 5 years for members under 55; 7 years for members aged 55-59; 10 years for members aged 60 and over.

I want to buy private health insurance, how can I do this?

You can contact one of the private health insurers in Ireland.

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Mental Health

Many people experience mental health problems over the course of their life. You can access mental health services through your GP or through the community and hospital based services offered by the HSE.

There are also voluntary organisations which support people with mental health illnesses:

Aware provides information and support for people suffering from depression and their family and friends: www.aware.ie

LoCall: 1890 303 302

Pieta House provides support for people who are suicidal or have been bereaved through suicide or who self harm. 

Freephone: 1800 247 247 

Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair: www.samaritans.org

Freephone: 116 123

Headstrong is an initiative working with communities to ensure that young people aged 12 to 25 are better supported to achieve mental health and wellbeing: www.headstrong.ie

Telephone: 01 6607343
Email: info@headstrong.ie

The HSE developed a website as part of the ‘Your Mental Health’ campaign to raise awareness about mental health issues: www.yourmentalhealth.ie

The National Office for Suicide Prevention co-ordinates suicide prevention efforts throughout the country: www.nosp.ie

Population Health Directorate
HSE, Dr Steeven’s Hospital, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 6352139 / 6352179
Email: info@nosp.ie

Mental Health Ireland is a national voluntary organisation which aims to promote positive mental health and to actively support persons with a mental illness, their families and carers by identifying their needs and advocating their rights: www.mentalhealthireland.ie

1-4 Adelaide Road, Glasthule, Co. Dublin
Telephone: 01 2841166

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Drinking alcohol plays a role in adult life in Ireland. However, alcohol is often abused. The following organisations provide information and support on alcohol and drugs:

Drugs Helpline – Freephone – 1800 459 459 (Monday – Friday): www.drugs.ie

The HSE set up a website to provide information on alcohol and its effects on health: www.yourdrinking.ie

Alcohol Action Ireland is the national charity for alcohol-related issues: www.alcoholireland.ie

Coleraine House, Coleraine Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8780610
Email: admin@alcoholactionireland.ie

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Reproductive healthcare

Reproductive healthcare includes crisis pregnancy options, family planning, contraception, pregnancy counseling and related health matters, for example, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases, miscarriage, still birth and sudden infant death, circumcision and rape. Your GP can provide you with information on reproductive health. However, some people do not feel comfortable about discussing these issues with their GP.

Irish Family Planning Association is a charitable organisation which provides sexual and reproductive health information, clinical services, counseling service education, training and awareness raising: www.ifpa.ie

Solomons House, 42A Pearse Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6074456
Email: post@ifpa.ie

The Dublin Well Woman Centres were founded to provide access to family planning advice and services. There are three medical centres in Dublin: www.wellwomancentre.ie

Head Office, 25 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8749243
Email: info@wellwomancentre.ie

Clinics:

67 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Telephone: 01 6609860 / 6681108 / 6683714

35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8728051 / 8728095

Northside Shopping Centre, Coolock, Dublin 5
Telephone: 01 8484511

For more information on reproductive health see www.treoir.ie and go to ‘Publications’ and ‘Reproductive health information for migrant women’.

HIV Ireland is a voluntary organisation working to improve conditions for people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS: www.hivireland.ie

70 Eccles Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8733799
Email: info@hivireland.ie

HIV Ireland's Don't Panic Guides give an overview of sexual health and sexual health services in Dublin in a variety of languages.

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Health Campaigns

CervicalCheck

CervicalCheck is a programme providing free smear tests to women aged 25 to 60 who are eligible for screening. Cervical screening is the most effective method of reducing a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. A smear test is used for cervical screening and is a simple procedure to detect pre-cancerous cells. For more information in different languages go to: www.cervicalcheck.ie

Freephone: 1800 45 45 55

BreastCheck

BreastCheck is a programme providing screening for breast cancer and invites women aged 50 to 64 for a free mammogram on an area-by-area basis every two years: www.breastcheck.ie

Freephone: 1800 45 45 55

Bowel cancer awareness

The BowelScreen programme is delivered by the National Screening Service in Ireland. The National Screening Service also provide BreastCheck - The National Breast Screening Programme and CervicalCheck - The National Cervical Screening Programme: www.bowelscreen.ie

If you think that you are at risk of bowel cancer you should contact your GP or the Irish Cancer Society’s Information Service: 1800 200 700 (Monday–Thursday 9am–7pm; Friday 9am–5pm).

Prostate Cancer Awareness

There is no prostate cancer screening programme in Ireland. The Irish Cancer Society created the Action Prostate Cancer initiative to increase information and support about this cancer: www.cancer.ie/prostate

Prostate Cancer Information Service 1800 380 380 (Monday – Thursday 9am – 7pm; Friday 9am – 5pm).

For more information on migrant health issues contact:

Cairde: www.cairde.ie

Cairde is a community development organisation working to tackle health inequalities among ethnic minority communities by improving ethnic minority access to health services and ethnic minority participation in health planning and delivery.

19 Belvedere Place, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8552111
Email: info@cairde.ie

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Housing

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1. Private Rented Accomodation

2. Social Housing Support

3. Buying a Home

4. Housing Costs / Utilities

5. Risk of Homelessness

6. Homelessness

7. Exiting Homelessness

Pensions

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There are different types of pensions that you may be entitled to on retirement from employment in Ireland. Depending on how many social insurance contributions you made or depending on your financial situation you may be entitled to a pension from the state. Many employers operate pension schemes for their employees, these are called Occupational Pensions. You can also organise your own personal pension account.

State Pensions

There are 2 different types of state pension: one is based on the amount of social insurance contributions you have paid, State Pension – (Contributory) and one is based on a means test, State Pension – (Non-Contributory).

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State Pension (Contributory)

What is the State Pension (Contributory)?

The Contributory State Pension is payable to people in Ireland from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested and you may also have income. You may have to pay some tax on this pension.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for Contributory State Pension if:

  • You are aged 66 or over
  • You satisfy certain social insurance contributions (search for ‘State Pension – Contributory’ on www.welfare.ie for more information)

What is the Homemaker’s Scheme?

Homemaker’s Scheme allows a homemaker to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory). It makes it easier for a homemaker to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).

Who is a homemaker?

A homemaker is a man or woman who gives up working outside the home on or after 6th April 1994 to care for a child under the age of 12 or a person with a disability.

How do I qualify for this?

You must:

  • Be permanently living in the State
  • Be aged under 66 years of age (the qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028)
  • Have started insurable employment or self-employment on or after the age of 16 and before the age of 56
  • Not work full-time (you can earn up to €38 per week)

For more information search for ‘Homemaker’s Scheme’ on www.welfare.ie.

What if I paid my social insurance contributions abroad?

If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security agreement you may qualify for a pro-rata pension. This pension combines your Irish social insurance record and your social insurance record in the other country. You collect your pro-rata pension in the country you are resident in.

How do I check if I have enough social insurance contributions?

You should check your social insurance record with the PRSI Records Section in the Department of Social Protection. In order to check your social insurance record you will need your PPS number.

When should I apply?

You should apply 3 months before reaching the age of 66 (or 6 months if you have paid contributions abroad). You do not have to be retired from work to make your application.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form SPT/SPC1. This is available from your local Social Welfare Office, the Department of Social Protection and www.welfare.ie

Where can I get more information?

If you would like more information you should contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Department of Social Protection.

The Pension Services Office also has a Pensions Forecast unit which gives advice to people over 60 on the pension contributions they may need to make to ensure they get a State Contributory Pension.

What if I do not qualify for a Contributory State Pension?

If you do not qualify for a Contributory Pension, you can apply for a non-Contributory Pension.

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State Pension (Non-contributory)

What is the State Pension (Non-Contributory)?

The Non-Contributory State Pension is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 or over who do not qualify for Transition State Pension or Contributory State Pension based on their social insurance record.

How do I qualify?

To qualify you must:

  • Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition
  • Be age 66 or over (the qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028)
  • Live in the State
  • Have a valid Personal Public Service number (PPS number)
  • Satisfy a means test

When should I apply?

You should apply at least 3 months before reaching the age of 66.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form SPNC1 and return it to:

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Section
Pensions Services Office
College Road
Sligo
LoCall: 1890 500 000

What do I need to provide?

You must send the following original documents (no photocopies):

  • Your birth certificate (if you were born outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your spouse or partner’s birth certificate (if they were born outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your marriage certificate (if you were married outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your dependent child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) (if they were born outside the Republic of Ireland). If you are getting Child Benefit you do not need to send their birth certificate(s).

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Occupational Pension Schemes

In general, large employers in Ireland have occupational pension schemes, but many smaller employers throughout the country do not. You should ask your employer directly about this.

Each pension scheme has its own set of rules. Pension schemes nationally are generally regulated by the Pensions Board.

Special schemes called PRSAs were introduced to be used instead of occupational pension schemes by employers who do not wish to sponsor such schemes.

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PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account)

What is a PRSA?

A PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account) is a low-cost, easy-access private pension savings account. It is designed to allow you save for retirement. You are entitled to invest in a PRSA regardless of your employment status. PRSAs are transferable from job to job and they are available from a variety of providers.

Who provides PRSAs?

PRSAs are provided by private banks or life assurance companies.

Where can I get more information?

If you would like further information, you should contact:

The Pensions Authority 
Verschoyle House, 28-30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Telephone: 01 6131900
Lo-call: 1890 656 565
Website: www.pensionsauthority.ie

There is also a Pensions Calculator which allows you to calculate how to estimate the amount of money you would need to contribute to your pension to end up with the level of pension you expect in retirement.

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Employment Rights & Safety at Work

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While the vast majority of employers are fair, some employers are not. If you have an employment rights complaint you should contact your union or the Workplace Relations Commission.

Workers in Ireland are entitled to:

  • Have their terms of employment in writing
  • be paid at least the minimum wage of €9.15 per hour
  • payslips
  • a maximum working week of 48 hours
  • holidays and payment for this
  • minimum rest times
  • to be treated the same whether a part-time or full-time employee
  • minimum notice if they are going to be made redundant

The Workplace Relations Comission has a Guide to Employment Rights on their website in different languages: www.workplacerelations.ie. This guide gives basic information. Below are other frequently asked questions about employment rights:

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Minimum Wage

Who is entitled to Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage Act applies to all employees except in the following circumstances:

  • Close relatives of the employer such as: father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister
  • Any employee under-going structured training, such as an apprenticeship (other than hairdressing apprenticeships)

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Payslips

What can I do if my employer does not give me a pay slip?

If you are not being supplied with payslips you should contact your union or the Workplace Relations Commission.

It is also advisable to keep your own record of the hours you work and the name and contact details of your employer and supervisor.

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Maximum Working Hours

Do I get anything extra for working on Sunday?

If not already included in the rate of pay, employees are generally entitled to paid time off or a premium payment for working on a Sunday. Some industries have Registered Employment Agreements containing regulations on Sunday working.

Where there is no collective agreement in place, the employer should look at the closest applicable collective agreement, which applies to the same or similar work under similar circumstances, which provides for a Sunday premium.

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Rest Periods

Is my employer obliged to pay me for my breaks?

No, payment for breaks is not a statutory entitlement. However, it is usual practice for employees to be paid for a 15 minute break.

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Public Holidays

How many public holidays are there?

There are nine public holidays.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
  • Easter Monday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in June
  • The first Monday in August
  • The last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (December 25th)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (December 26th)

Do I accumulate holiday time if I’m out sick?

Yes, during a period of certified sick leave, holiday time is accumulated on time worked, annual leave, maternity leave, additional maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave, adoptive leave and time spent on the first 13 weeks of carer's leave. Further informaiton is available from the Workplace Relations Commission: www.workplacerelations.ie

Do I qualify for public holiday pay?

Full-time employees qualify immediately for public holiday pay. Part-time employees must have worked a total of 40 hours over a five-week period ending immediately before the public holiday to qualify.

Is Good Friday a public holiday?

No, Good Friday is not a public holiday, but depending on the industry you work in it may be common practice for this day to be a holiday.

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Unfair dismissal

Who does the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2015 cover?

The Unfair Dismissals Acts apply to employees over 16 years of age with at least 12 months continuous service. The Acts do not apply in certain circumstances, for example, employees who have reached the normal retiring age or are under 16 years of age, close relatives of the employer who live and work in the same private house or farm, members of Defence Forces or Gardaí, officers of education and training boards, the Chief Executive Officer of the Health Services Executive, and City or County Managers. Further information is available from the Workplace Relations Commission: www.workplacerelations.ie

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Redundancy

I have been made redundant. Where can I get more information about this?

For more information on redundancy go to www.redundancy.ie

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Sick leave

Does my employer have to pay me when I’m sick?

Sick pay is not a statutory entitlement. Policy in relation to sick pay may be decided by the employer and agreed as part of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

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Other issues

Am I entitled to overtime pay?

Overtime pay is not a statutory entitlement, although it is usual practice for most employers to provide an overtime rate of pay.

Policy in relation to overtime may be decided by the employer and agreed as part of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

I have been charged money by an agency who promised to find me work, is this legal?

No. In Ireland it is illegal for an agency to charge a fee for finding employment for you. An employer may use an agency to recruit employees and it is the employer who pays the agency. Contact the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if you, as an employee, have been charged a fee by an employment agency. Telephone: 01 6312121

Am I entitled to a reference?

A reference is not a statutory entitlement and therefore is supplied at the discretion of the employer.

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Carer's leave

What is Carer's Leave?

Carer's Leave allows an employee to personally provide full-time care and attention for a person who is in need of such care. The minimum statutory entitlement is 13 weeks but an employee is entitled to a maximum of 104 weeks for any one “relevant person”. A relevant person is someone who a deciding officer from the Department of Social Protection considers in need of full-time care and attention.

Who is entitled to Carer's Leave?

You are entitled to take Carer's Leave if you have at least 12 months' continuous service.

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Payments for Carers

The two main payments for carers are Carer’s Benefit which is based on PRSI contributions and Carer’s Allowance which is means tested. There is also Domiciliary Care Allowance which may be paid for a child with a disability. Recipients of these payments may be eligible for an annual Respite Support Grant.

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Carer’s Benefit

Carer’s Benefit is a payment made to insured persons who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. Under Carer’s Leave legislation, you may be entitled to unpaid temporary leave from your employment to provide care to a person. If you are providing care for more than one person you may be entitled to an extra 50% of the personal rate of Carer’s Benefit each week.

How do I qualify?

  • You will qualify for Carer’s Benefit if:
  • You are aged over 16 and under 66
  • You satisfy PRSI contribution conditions (Search for ‘Carers Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information)
  • You give up employment to care for a person(s) on a full-time basis (this employment must have been for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight)
  • You are not employed or self-employed outside the home (you may work up to 15 hours per week)
  • You are living in the State and you are not living in a hospital, convalescent home, or other similar institution and

The person(s) you are caring for is/are:

  • disabled and in need of full-time care and attention (medical certification is required)
  • not normally living in a hospital, residential home or other similar institution

Where Domiciliary Care Allowance is being paid by the Health Service Executive for a child no medical certification is required.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form CARB1 and send it to the Carer’s Benefit Section:

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Telephone: 043 3345211
LoCall: 1890 927 770

What if I do not qualify?

If you do not qualify you can apply for Carer’s Allowance.

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Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a payment for carers who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention and who satisfy a means test. Carers who are providing care to more than one person may be entitled to up to an extra 50% of the maximum rate of Carer’s Allowance each week, depending on the weekly means assessed.

How do I qualify?

  • You will qualify for Carer’s Allowance if:
  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You satisfy a means test
  • You live with the person(s) you are looking after or can be contacted quickly by a direct system of communication between your home and the home of the person you are caring for
  • You are caring for the person(s) on a full-time basis
  • You are not employed or self-employed outside the home in excess of 15 hours per week
  • You are living in the State
  • You satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition
  • You are not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution and

The person(s) you are caring for is/are:

disabled and in need of full-time care and/or attention (medical certification is required)

  • not normally living in a hospital, home or other similar institution
  • aged 16 years of age or over, or
  • under 16 years of age if Domiciliary Care Allowance is being paid for them by the Health Service Executive. You should provide documentary evidence of this payment.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form CR1 and send it to the Carer’s Allowance Section:

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Telephone: 043 3345211
LoCall: 1890 927 770

What if I do not qualify?

You have the right to appeal the decision. If you still do not qualify you should contact your local social welfare office or the Department of Social Protection.

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Maternity Leave

If you are pregnant in Ireland while employed, you are entitled to take maternity leave from your job for a basic period of 26 weeks. At least two weeks have to be taken before the end of the week of your baby’s expected birth and at least four weeks after. You can decide how you would like to take the remaining 16 weeks. Generally, employees take two weeks before the birth and 24 weeks after. You can also avail of an additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave.

The entitlement to maternity leave from employment extends to all female employees in Ireland (including casual workers), regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours worked per week.

Am I entitled to payment during Maternity Leave?

Your employer does not have to pay you while you are on Maternity Leave. However, you may be entitled to Maternity Benefit.

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Maternity Benefit

Maternity Benefit is a payment made to women in Ireland on maternity leave from work and who have paid a certain amount of PRSI contributions (search for ‘Maternity Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information). You need to apply for the payment 6 weeks before you intend to go on maternity leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed). The amount of money paid to you each week will depend on your earnings.

Am I entitled to Maternity Benefit if I am in receipt of other social assistance payments?

If you are in receipt of the following payments, half-rate Maternity Benefit is payable:

  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Widow’s and Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow’s and Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit
  • Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner's or Dependent Parents’ Pension (under the Occupational Injuries Scheme)

How long can I claim Maternity Benefit?

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 continuous weeks. At least 2 weeks and not more than 16 weeks maternity leave must be taken before the end of the week in which your baby is due.

If your baby is born later than expected and you have less than 4 weeks maternity leave left, you may be entitled to extend your maternity leave to ensure that you have a full 4 weeks off following the week of the birth. In these circumstances Maternity Benefit will continue to be paid to you until the baby is four weeks old. You need to notify the Maternity Benefit Section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs by sending them a letter from your GP stating the date on which your baby was born.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form MB1 six weeks before you intend to go on maternity leave and send it to the Maternity Benefit Section.

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Parental Leave

The Workplace Relations Commission provides a summary of Parental Leave:

  • The Parental Leave Act 1998, as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006 and the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 entitles each parent to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave.
  • The leave must be taken before the child is 8 years of age, or 16 years of age in the case of children with disabilities.
  • This leave is non-transferable between the parents, except where both parents work for the same employer. However, this depends on the agreement of the employer.
  • You must notify your employer 6 weeks in advance of your intention to take parental leave.
  • The leave may be “broken up” with the agreement of the employer.
  • Information on dispute procedures and complaint forms are available from the Workplace Relations Commission: www.workplacerelations.ie 

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Adoptive Leave

The Workplace Relations Commission provides a summary of Parental Leave:

  • An adopting mother or sole male adopter is entitled to 24 weeks adoptive leave
  • An employee must give 4 weeks written notice to their employer before starting the leave
  • There is no obligation on employers to pay an employee, however the employee may be entitled to a social welfare benefit.

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Force Majeure Leave

An employee in Ireland has a limited right to leave from work in time of family crisis. This is known as “force majeure leave”. You must notify your employer as soon as practicably possible that you need to avail of force majeure leave. Immediately on your return to work, you must make your application in writing to your employer. The maximum amount of leave is 3 days in any 12 month period or 5 days in a 36 month period. You are entitled to be paid while you are on force majeure leave.

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Compassionate Leave

Compassionate leave is granted in the event of a death in an employee’s family. There is no legal entitlement to compassionate leave and it is generally at the discretion of the employer.

Where can I get information on Parental Leave, Adoptive Leave and Force Majeure Leave?

Information on all of the above can be got from the Workplace Relations Commission:  www.workplacerelations.ie

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Health and Safety in the workplace

Health and safety at work means working in a safe environment and where there are risks that they are minimised or eliminated and to be treated with dignity and respect. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the national body in Ireland with responsibility for securing health and safety at work.

What is the Safe Pass Programme?

The Safe Pass Health and Safety Awareness Training Programme is a one-day programme run by SOLAS. Safe Pass aims to ensure that all construction site and local authority workers in Ireland have a basic knowledge of health and safety. This is to enable them to work on construction sites without being a risk to themselves or others who might be affected by their actions.

Where can I find out more about the Safe Pass programme?

Further information on the Safe Pass Programme for the Irish construction industry is available from your local Employment Services Office or Intreo Centre.

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Unhealthy or Unsafe Working Conditions

I am concerned about health and safety issues in my workplace, what should I do?

You should contact the Health and Safety Officer in your place of employment. If you are not satisfied with the result of this you should contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). The HSA monitors compliance with legislation at the workplace and can take enforcement action (up to and including prosecutions).

Health and Safety Authority
The Metropolitan Building, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 1890 289 389
Website: www.hsa.ie

I am being bullied at work, what can I do?

You can contact the Health and Safety Officer in your place of employment or you can contact the Health and Safety Authority.

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Work related injuries

I have been injured at work and will not be able to work due to the injury, how can I get some financial assistance?

You may be entitled to Injury Benefit.

What is Injury Benefit?

Injury Benefit is one of the benefits under the Occupational Injuries Scheme. It is a weekly payment made to you if you are unfit for work due to an accident at work or because you have contracted a disease due to the type of work you do.

Injury Benefit is normally paid from the 4th day of your illness/ incapacity. Payment can be made for up to 26 weeks starting from the date of your accident or development of the disease. If you are still unable to work after 26 weeks, you may be entitled to Illness Benefit if you satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions (search for ‘Illness Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information).

How do I apply for Injury Benefit?

You should go to a doctor and get a First Social Welfare Medical Certificate, which includes a claim form. Complete these forms and submit them to your local social welfare office or the Injury Benefit Section. You must apply for Injury Benefit within 7 days of becoming ill. You should forward a medical certificate each week for as long as you are unfit for work.

If you wish to make a backdated claim for Illness Benefit you need to complete a First Medical Certificate (MC1) stating the date the illness began, provide a letter from your doctor giving details of your illness and treatment and a current MC2 certificate. 

Injury Benefit Section

Department of Social Protection
P.O. Box 1650
Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 7043018

How can I seek compensation for an injury I received in work?

This will depend on the nature of the accident and the injury. You may wish to pursue civil proceedings through the courts. However, there may be a cheaper option through InjuriesBoard.ie (previously called the Personal Injuries Assessment Board).

What is InjuriesBoard.ie?

InjuriesBoard.ie is a statutory body which provides independent assessment of personal injury compensation for victims of Workplace, Motor and Public Liability accidents. This assessment is provided without the need for the majority of legal costs.

Where can I get more information?

InjuriesBoard.ie
P.O. Box 8, Clonakilty Co. Cork
Lo-Call: 1890 829 121
Email: enquiries@injuriesboard.ie
Website: www.injuriesboard.ie

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Links

Workplace Relations Commission
O’Brien Road, Carlow
Telephone: 059 9178990

Website: www.workplacerelations.ie

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
55 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8897570
Email: info@mrci.ie
Website: www.mrci.ie

SIPTU – the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union represents over 200,000 workers in almost every employment sector of the Irish economy: www.siptu.ie

Liberty Hall, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8586300
Email: info@siptu.ie

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is the largest civil society organisation on the island of Ireland, representing and campaigning on behalf of some 832,000 working people: www.ictu.ie

31/32 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8897777
Email: congress@ictu.ie

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Taxes and Banking

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Income Tax

How does the income tax system in Ireland work?

Employees in Ireland pay tax through the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system. This means that your employer deducts the tax you owe directly from your wages, and pays this tax directly to the Revenue Commissioners.

How do I pay my income tax in Ireland?

It is important to ensure that your tax is dealt with properly and that your employer deducts the right amount of tax from your pay. To ensure that this happens, you will need to do two things (as soon as possible):

  • Apply to the Department of Social Protection for a PPS number. This is your individual identification number used for all dealings with Revenue and other government departments. On receipt of this number you should give it to your employer.
  • Apply for a certificate of tax credits by completing a Form 12A (available from your local tax office or to download from www.revenue.ie) and send it in to your local tax office. Your employer can supply any relevant information that you need to complete this form, for example, employer’s PAYE registered number. Revenue will send you a certificate of tax credits and issue a copy of your tax credits to your employer so that the correct deductions of tax can be made from your salary.

Your own personal circumstances decide the amount of tax credits you are entitled to. The tax office will then forward you a detailed statement of your tax credits. Your employer will also be notified of your tax credits.

How much tax will I pay?

The amount of tax you pay depends on a variety of factors including your marital status, whether you have children, whether you are in rented accommodation.

What are tax credits?

Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax that you pay. Under the tax credit system you are entitled to tax credits depending on your personal circumstances, for example, married person’s tax credits, PAYE tax credit, rental accommodation tax credit and medical expenses. For more information go to: www.revenue.ie

How do I claim tax credits?

The quickest and easiest way to claim tax credits is to use PAYE anytime.

PAYE anytime is an internet system that lets you do business with Revenue electronically 365 days a year. To use PAYE anytime you must register first: www.revenue.ie

Alternately, you can contact Revenue by phoning the PAYE LoCall Service which operates from Monday to Friday. You will need your PPS number to use this service.

Information facilities are also available in certain Revenue offices. Local Enquiry Offices are located in county offices outside Dublin.

What is Emergency tax?

If your employer has not received either:

  • A certificate of tax credits from the tax office, or
  • Form P45 (parts 2 and 3) from you, about your previous employment

Your employer will have to deduct tax on an emergency basis when paying your wages or salary. This means that a larger amount of tax is deducted from your pay than is necessary so you should obtain your tax credit certificate.

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P45s and P60s

What are P45s and P60s?

P45: If you leave your employment your employer must give you a P45. This is a statement of your pay and the tax and PRSI to date deducted by your employer. It is a very important document and you need it if:

  • You are changing job – to give to your new employer in order to avoid paying emergency tax
  • You are unemployed – to claim a tax refund, to claim social welfare benefits

If your employer does not give you a P45 you should ask for it.

P60: At the end of each tax year your employer must give you a P60 which is a statement of your pay and of the tax and PRSI deducted by your employer during the year. The P60 has two parts and it is an important document. You need it to send to the tax office to claim a statement of your tax liability (P21) at the end of the year or if you need to claim a benefit you would send the second part to the Department of Social Protection as evidence of your paid PRSI contributions.

What if my employer does not supply me with a P45 or P60?

You can inform your local tax office if your employer or former employer does not issue you with a P45 or P60.

If your employer does not issue you with a P60 or a P45 it may be that you have not been registered for PRSI by your employer. It also could be that you have been registered but your employer has not paid the PRSI contributions which are due or has not paid the correct amount. An employer is required by law to register all employees for PRSI, pay the correct contributions, maintain accurate records for all employees and to produce these records when requested by social welfare inspectors. If an employer fails to do so it can result in penalties, prosecution or both.

What if I suspect that my employer is not making PRSI and tax contributions on my behalf?

Your employer is legally obliged to provide you with a payslip that details the tax and PRSI deductions and PRSI contributions made on your behalf.

Where can I report an employer that is not making PRSI contributions on my behalf?

If you are still working with your employer you can complain in confidence (at your local social welfare office) and your name will be kept private. If it is proved that your current or former employer did not pay PRSI on your behalf, the employer may be forced to back-pay your PRSI contributions.

For your own security it is important that your employer pays your social insurance contributions. Being included in the PRSI system ensures you get your rights in relation to social welfare payments if you become unemployed, ill, if you are injured in work, if you take maternity leave or apply for a pension.

You should report the problem to your local Revenue office. Details of your local Revenue office can be found by entering your PPS Number at the ‘Contact Locator’ link at www.revenue.ie.

Have I committed an offence if I have worked for an employer and not paid PRSI?

Provided that you did not consent to the employer not paying contributions on your behalf you have not committed an offence. If you report an employer that has failed to pay contributions it may be possible that the inspectors can force the employer to back-pay your PRSI.

Can I get a refund of some of the tax I have paid?

There are various circumstances when you may get a refund of tax you have paid:

  • Your employer is obliged to deduct tax at an emergency rate if he/she has not received your Certificate of Tax Credits or a P45 from a previous employer. Once the employer receives either of these documents he/she can calculate how much tax they should be deducting from your wages. The employer can at this stage refund the amount of tax that you were overcharged
  • After each Tax Year (after December 31st) you can ask Revenue to check if you paid too much tax in that year. You can do this by submitting your form P60 to your local tax office and requesting an end of year review (P21) for that year.
  • If you have been unemployed for 4 weeks or if you are leaving Ireland you may also get a tax refund. The relevant form is Form P50 which is available from your local tax office and www.revenue.ie.

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What is a P21?

A P21 is a statement of total income, tax credit and tax paid for a particular tax year. This statement will show if you have overpaid or underpaid tax in a particular year. If there is an overpayment a refund will be made into your bank account (if you have provided Revenue with your bank details) or a cheque for the amount will be issued. If you have underpaid tax your local office will contact you about this.

What do I need a P21 for?

You may need to send a P21 to your local authority, bank or building society as proof of earnings when looking for an education grant, a house or a loan. It also shows whether you have overpaid or underpaid tax for the year. If you have overpaid, a cheque for the amount will be issued. If you have underpaid tax your local office will contact you about this.

Where can I get more information about tax?

You can

  • Visit www.revenue.ie
  • Call to your local tax office
  • Call to the Central Revenue Information Office located in Cathedral Street, Dublin 1 
  • Phone the PAYE Locall Service

What tax do I pay if I am an employer?

Any employer must register for PAYE purposes if they make payments greater than:

  • €8 per week (or €36 per month) for a full-time employee or
  • €2 per week (or €9 per month) for an employee who has other employment.

An employer must also notify the Revenue Commissioners of their name and address and that they are making such payments within 9 days of the date of commencement.

How do I register with the Revenue Commissioners as an employer?

To register for PAYE/PRSI you must complete one of these forms:

  • Form TR1 if you are a sole trader or partnership
  • Form TR2 if you are registering as a company
  • Form PREM Reg if you are already registered for Income Tax or Corporation Tax.

When you return the completed form to Revenue you will receive confirmation of your registration as an employer and a registered number for PAYE and PRSI purposes.

How do I pay my tax?

Each year employers must submit their records of PAYE/PRSI and Income Levy deducted from their employees. This is done by completing a P35 manually or online.

You can get further assistance on the Employer’s Guide to PAYE by calling the Employer Information and Customer Service Unit:

Telephone: 1890 25 45 65
Email: employerhelp@revenue.ie
Website: www.revenue.ie

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Banking

Who offers accounts?

Banks, building societies, credit unions and the post office offer different accounts.

What do I need to open a bank account?

To open a bank account in Ireland you must have:

  • 1 – 2 forms of photo identification and
  • Proof of address in Ireland
  • PPS number (in some cases)

What forms of photo identification can be used?

  • A valid passport
  • Driver’s licence
  • Age Card issued by the Gardaí
  • An identification form with a photograph signed by a member of An Garda Síochána
  • Documents issued by Government departments showing your name.

What can I use as proof of address?

  • A recent utility bill (for example electricity or telephone bill)
  • A statement from the tax office
  • A current car or home insurance policy that shows your address
  • A document issued by a Government department that shows your address
  • A social insurance document that shows your address
  • A letter from your employer or licensed employment agency stating that you started work but cannot yet provide evidence of your Irish address (you will have to provide evidence of your address at a later date).

Is it difficult to open a bank account in Ireland?

You should be aware that you may experience initial difficulty in opening a bank account. Different banks have different rules.

How can I transfer money to my home country from Ireland?

There are a number of ways you can transfer money to other countries.

  • Using a money transmitter (authorised by the Financial Regulator)
  • At a bank
  • At any post office branch
  • At some credit unions

Where can I get independent advice and information about banking products and services?

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission provides consumer information and education about the costs, risks and benefits of financial products. If you require further information, you should contact:

Competition and Consumer Protection Comission 
Parnell House 

14 Parnell Square

Dublin 1

Lo-call: 1890 432 432
Website: www.consumerhelp.ie

Where can I get help with my household budget or managing my money?

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free and confidential service for people in Ireland with debt and money management problems. There are MABS offices all over Ireland, staffed by trained Money Advisers. Money Advisers will:

  • Help you deal with your debts and create a budget
  • Examine your income to make sure you are not missing out on any of your entitlements
  • Contact your creditors on your behalf with offers of payment if you are not able to do it yourself
  • Help you decide on the best way to make the payments

For details of your nearest MABS office go to www.mabs.ie or contact the MABS Helpline: 0761 07 2000.

Working in Ireland

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What are the requirements for working in Ireland?

If you are a citizen of a non-EEA country you may not have automatic permission to work in Ireland. You may need to obtain an Employment Permit in order to work. According to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation citizens of non-EEA countries who do not require Employment Permits include:

  • a non-EEA national who has obtained explicit permission from the Department of Justice and Equality to remain resident and employed in the State
  • a non-EEA national who has been granted refugee status
  • a non-EEA national who holds appropriate business permission to operate a business in the State
  • a non-EEA national who is a registered student working less than 20 hours a week
  • Swiss nationals.

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Employment Permit System

General Employment Prmit

General Employment Permits are issued for up to 2 years. Generally the salary must be €30,000 or more and the employer must have carried out a labour market test. The cost for a 2 year work permit is €1000. After 12 months working in the country, work permit holders can apply for their family members to join them. For a list of eligible jobs and further information go to: www.djei.ie.

Critical Skills Employment Permit

Critical Skills Employment Permits are issued for jobs where the salary is over €60,000. Green card permits are also issued for certain jobs where the salary is between €30,000 and €59,999, for an up-to-date list of eligible jobs go to: www.djei.ie. There is no labour market test. There must be a job offer of 2 or more years. Critical Skills Employment Permit holders can apply for immediate family re-unification.

Dependant/Partner/Spousal Employment Permit

Dependent/Partner/Spousal Employment Permits are issued to spouses, partners or dependents (who came to Ireland before they were 18 years of age). If the main employment permit holder is a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder, a Green Card Permit holder or a Researcher then:

  • There is no labour market test
  • There is no fee for the work permit
  • There are no ineligible jobs

What else do I need to work in Ireland?

You should have a Personal Public Service (PPS) number. Your PPS number is a unique reference number which your employer uses to make the required tax and social insurance contributions on your behalf. You also use your PPS number when accessing social welfare and health benefits.

How do I apply for a PPS Number?

You apply through the Department of Social Protection. Not all social welfare offices issue PPS numbers so you should contact your local social welfare office to get information on where to go.  Alternatively follow this link: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Personal-Public-Service-Number-Registration-Centres-by-Count.aspx 

What do I need in order to apply for a PPS number?

In order to receive a PPS number, you need to show you have a reason for needing one.  For example, you have a job offer or you need to apply for a social welfare payment or child benefit. 

Go to this page for detailed information on the PPS number, process and requirements: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/ppsn.aspx

How long will it take to get a PPS number?

Usually 5 working days from the date you applied.

I have qualifications obtained in a country outside of Ireland. Will these qualifications be recognised by employers in Ireland?

This will depend on the nature of the qualification and the country where it was obtained. It may be possible for you to get formal recognition of your qualification in Ireland. Quality and Qualifications Ireland provides a way of relating foreign qualifications to the nearest comparable qualification in Ireland. You should contact Quality and Qualifications Ireland. This service is free of charge.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland
26/27 Denzille Lane 
Telephone: 01 9058100
Website: www.qqi.ie 

I’m looking for work. Where should I start?

  • Update your CV
  • Get written work references from current and previous employers
  • Have details of your qualifications with an English translation and contact Quality and Qualifications Ireland to get a formal recognition of your qualifications.

What kind of CV should I prepare?

CVs can take many formats. The most important criteria are that your CV is clear and easy to read. It should contain personal contact details, educational history, relevant skills or interests and most importantly work experience details.

Volunteering can also be a great way of gaining work experience in Ireland: www.volunteeringireland.ie

Where can I go to get help with my CV?

In Dublin you can also contact:

  • EPIC – Employment for People from Immigrant Communities aims to assist citizens of both EU and non-EU countries (stamp 4) to find employment and/or further training and education in Ireland: www.bitc.ie 31 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
    Telephone: 01 8743840/1
    Email: epic@bitc.ie
  • Jobcare helps people find jobs by providing training, resources, expertise and opportunities for personal development: www.jobcare.ie The Exchange, 50 Gardiner Street, Dublin 1
    Telephone: 01 6773897
    Email: info@jobcare.ie

Where can I begin looking for employment?

Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment services and income supports. For more information you should check out their website: www.intreo.ie or call in to your local Intreo office.

If you have stamp 1 and have been made redundant you can register with FÁS otherwise FÁS will only register people who have stamp 4.

You can also contact your Local Employment Service (LES): www.localemploymentservices.ie 

You can check local and national newspapers: The Irish Times and The Irish Examiner (job supplement on Fridays), The Irish Independent (job supplement on Thursdays), The Sunday Independent and The Evening Herald.

Use personal contacts, for example, relatives or friends who may know of current vacancies.

You can also check the internet for details of current vacancies – here is a sample of some websites for job-seekers:

Can I get assistance looking for work if I have a disability?

The Department of Social Protection runs the EmployAbility Service to assist jobseekers with a disability to find employment in the open labour market.

To avail of the EmployAbility Service, call into your local Intreo Office or Social Welfare Office. 

I have lost my job, am I entitled to a social welfare payment while I am looking for another job?

There are two categories of payments for unemployed people: Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. To qualify for either of these you must be:

  • Capable of work, and
  • Available for and genuinely looking for full-time work

It is important to note that you can get part-time or casual work and still be considered unemployed. So you may be eligible for a part-payment if you are in part-time or casual work.

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Jobseeker’s Benefit

How do I qualify?

This payment is based on insurance contributions paid while in employment in Ireland (PRSI) or another country covered by EC Regulations (see Social Welfare Section). You will qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit if:

  • You are less than 66 years of age
  • You have suffered a loss in employment
  • You have paid enough social insurance contributions (search for ‘Jobseeker’s Benefit on www.welfare.ie for more information)
  • You are available for and genuinely seeking work
  • You are capable of work
  • You must be unemployed for at least 3 days in any period of six consecutive days

How do I apply?

To apply you must register (sign-on) with the Department of Social Protection at your local Social Welfare Office. You should apply straight away because Jobseeker’s Benefit is not paid for the first 3 days you are unemployed. Complete Form UP1 and bring this to your local Social Welfare Office.

What do I need to provide?

  • Proof of identity (Long Birth Certificate or passport)
  • Proof of address
  • P45 and P60 Forms from your employment in Ireland

What if I do not qualify?

If your claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit is refused, you have the right to appeal the decision. If you still do not qualify, you may be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

How do I qualify?

To qualify you must:

  • Be over 18 and less than 66 years of age
  • Be unemployed
  • Be available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment
  • Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (See Social Welfare Section)
  • Satisfy a means test
  • Be capable of work

How long can I claim Jobseeker’s Allowance?

You can claim Jobseeker’s allowance for as long as you need, as long as you satisfy all the requirements.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form UP1 and bring it to your local social welfare office.

What do I need to bring with me?

  • details of efforts to find work
  • P45
  • Child dependant details
  • Proof of your identity (long version Birth Certificate/Passport)
  • Proof of your address

What if I do not qualify?

If your claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance is refused, you have the right to appeal the decision. If you still do not qualify, you may be entitled to other payments. You can contact your Community Welfare Officer (CWO) in your local Health Centre or you can contact your local social welfare office for further information.

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Links:

If you have lost your job www.redundancy.ie provides practical information in English.

Information on all social welfare payments is available at: www.welfare.ie and www.gettingbacktowork.ie 

Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed represents the interests and views of all unemployed people and their dependents at a national level: www.inou.ie

Araby House, 8 North Richmond Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8560090
Email: info@inou.ie

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Starting a business in Ireland

What are the requirements for setting up a business in Ireland?

If you are from a non-EEA country you may need business permission to start a business in Ireland depending on your immigration status.

You do not need to get business permission if you:

  • Have been granted refugee status by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (stamp 4)
  • Are a dependant relative of an EEA national exercising a valid right to reside in Ireland (stamp 4 EU FAM)
  • have been granted permission to remain in the State on one of the following grounds:
  • as the spouse of an Irish national (stamp 4)
  • as the parent of an Irish born child (stamp 4)
  • granted temporary leave to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds, having been in the asylum process (stamp 4).

For further details see: www.inis.gov.ie or contact the INIS about Investor and Entrepreneur Schemes: investmentstartup@justice.ie

What help can I get if I want to start a business in Ireland?

Enterprise Ireland provides advisory and financial support to High Potential Start-Up businesses and encourages all forms of entrepreneurship: www.enterpriseireland.ie

City and County Enterprise Boards support the start up and development of local businesses in Ireland. This includes advice, mentoring and grants or financial supports for training and growth: www.enterpriseboards.ie

Chambers Ireland: A chamber of commerce is an organisation made up of local business representatives who join together to promote the economic and social development of their community in order to make it a better place in which to live, work and do business: www.chambers.ie

Toil and Trouble is an excellent guide on the various procedures that you need to go through to become self-employed in Ireland.

About Living in Ireland

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About Living in Ireland: English Version from Crosscare Migrant Project on Vimeo.

This website is for use as a guide only. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, Crosscare Migrant Project will not be held responsible for any errors. Inclusion in this website is not a guarantee of standard, nor does it mean that any service or organisation is endorsed.

Living in Ireland is an easy-to-use, multi-purpose resource created by Crosscare Migrant Project. It provides general information on rights in five languages as well as exploring culture, language, history, society and participation in Ireland. It is not a definitive guide to living in Ireland but a starting point from which residents and citizens can engage in mutual interaction and exchange. A voluntary forum called the Living in Ireland Website Group (LIIWG) assists in the further development of this website. The LIIWG meets regularly to decide on the content and layout of the website. If you would like to get involved in the LIIWG please contact migrantproject@crosscare.ie

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Department of Justice and Equality and Pobal.

Crosscare Migrant Project is a non-government information and advocacy project that provides information to intending, existing and returning Irish emigrants and migrants to Ireland, and also works to achieve positive change in migration-related policy. It is a project of Crosscare, the Social Care Agency of the Dublin Archdiocese.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LivinginIreland

Work

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Immigration

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Disclaimer: This information contains guidelines only. Official policy and legislation can change. Check with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for the latest information: www.inis.gov.ie

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) are the two organisations which manage the immigration system.

The INIS and the GNIB headquarters are located at 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

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Where do I go to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau?

If you live in Dublin you should go to the Burgh Quay Registration Office at 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. You will need to make an online appointment: https://burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie

IMPORTANT: You will need to book an appointment at least 10 weeks in advance. 

If you live outside of Dublin you should go to your local Garda District Headquarters to register with the Immigration Officer there. Contact your local Garda Station for more information. You can also find your local Garda District Headquarters on www.citizensinformation.ie under ‘Find an address’.

When you register with the GNIB you will be issued with a Certificate of Registration in the form of a GNIB card. This card provides information on your immigration status. At present, the fee for a GNIB card is €300. This fee is paid either by credit/debit card or by bank giro. For more information in English see: www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/registration

IMPORTANT: You must make sure that your immigration status is kept up-to-date at all times. If there are any problems, for example, a delay in getting your work permit renewed you should inform your local Immigration Officer who may grant you a temporary stamp for at least 3 months.

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Information for young people

I am 16 years of age. Do I need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau like my parents?

Yes. All young people must register with the GNIB when they reach the age of 16. Your parents should go with you to the local Immigration Officer.

Note: There is no specific stamp for young people who have come to Ireland to join their parents. Therefore, you will either be given a stamp 2 or stamp 2A or in some cases a stamp 3. Usually stamp 2/2A is not counted towards citizenship but in your case this will be counted as reckonable residency for naturalisation as long as your parent is registered with the GNIB or has Irish citizenship.

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Visa Applications

To apply for a visa to travel to Ireland you must apply using the online visa application form. Information on filling out the online form is available in different languages at: www.inis.gov.ie

To apply online you should go to: www.visas.inis.gov.ie

This form can only be completed in English. When you have finished completing the form you submit it and print off a summary sheet. This sheet gives the address of the main Irish embassy/consulate or visa office where the visa application and supporting documents should be sent.

I got married in a religious ceremony outside Ireland. I would like to bring my spouse to Ireland. How do I do this?

If your spouse is from a visa required country he or she must apply for a D-Join Spouse Visa (unless your spouse is coming to Ireland to apply for a Residence card of a family member of an EU citizen. Then they should apply for a C-visa). You should provide information about your relationship before you got married, proof of how you keep in contact when you are not together, your marriage certificate, photos of your wedding ceremony and information about your relationship since you got married. It is useful to register your marriage with the civil authorities to receive an official marriage certificate. If you have visited your spouse since the marriage you should provide tickets and stamps in your passport. Further information is available on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service's website: www.inis.gov.ie

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Travelling abroad while resident in Ireland

Do I need a visa to go to the United Kingdom?

This will depend on your nationality. If you are from a visa required country for the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) then you will need to apply for a visa. If you are from a non-visa required country for the United Kingdom you do not need a visa to go there but you may be subject to immigration control on arrival.

Border People - for information on crossing the border with Northern Ireland go to: www.borderpeople.info

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Summary of Immigration Stamps

There are 7 main immigration stamps. A summary of each is provided below:

 

 

Immigration Stamps

Examples

Stamp 0

Issued to a service provider sent to Ireland by an overseas company to carry out a particular task for a limited time, an extended visit in exceptional humanitarian circumstances and visiting academics. For further information go to: www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Stamps.

Stamp 1

Issued to those on work permits, green card permits, spouse dependent work permits, business permission 
Stamp 1A Issued to accountancy students for the purpose of fulltime training 

Stamp 1G

Issued to students granted permission to look for work as part of the Third Level Graduate Scheme 

Stamp 2

Issued to students registered on a full time course in an institution recognised by the Department of Education and Science. Students can work 20 hours/week during the term and full time hours during holiday periods.

Stamp 2A

Issued to students who are attending a course not recognised by the Department of Education. Students are not entitled to work.

Stamp 3

Issued to a non-EEA spouse or dependent of an employment permit holder, a non-EEA visitor, a non-EEA retired person of independent means, a non-EEA Minister of Religion and Member of Religious Order

Stamp 4

Issued to a non-EEA family member of an EEA national, a non-EEA spouse/partner of an Irish national, a refugee, a programme refugee, a person granted family reunification under the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended)

Stamp 4EU FAM

Issued to the non-EEA national family member of an EU national where the family member qualifies under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2006. See www.inis.gov.ie

Stamp 5 Issued to non-EEA nationals granted Without Condition as to Time Endorsement 
Stamp 6 Issued to Irish citizens with dual citizenship and endorsed in non-Irish passport 

 

Note: Those on work authorisation/working visas were issued with Stamp 4 but this scheme has now been replaced with the Green Card Permit scheme which has also been replaced by the Critical Skills Employment Permit.

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Immigration Pathways

Your options within the immigration system depend on your current immigration status. The amount of residency required to apply for each option is in brackets:

Stamp 1

Work Permit Holder

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 1 immigration stamp you can apply for Long Term Residency and Citizenship.

Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder

When you have 24 months (2 years) based on your Stamp 1 immigration stamps you can apply for a change of immigration status to Stamp 4.

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on a combination of Stamp 1 immigration stamps and Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

Green Card Permit Holder

Green Card Scheme: The Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006 allow for the establishment of a green card scheme for occupations where high level skills shortages exist. The Green Card Scheme replaced the Work Visa/Work Authorisation Scheme in 2007.

When you have 24 months (2 years) based on your Stamp 1 immigration stamps you can apply for Stamp 4 permission to remain.

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on a combination of Stamp 1 immigration stamps and Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Long Term Residency or Citizenship.

Stamp 2

International Student

When you complete a course of studies at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications you can transfer to the Graduate Scheme for 6 months. During this time you can work full time and apply for a work permit or green card permit.

When you complete a course of studies at Level 8 or higher on the National Framework of Qualifications you can change to the Graduate Scheme for 12 months. During this time you can work full time and apply for a work permit or green card permit.

Time spent in the country as an international student (Stamp 2/2A) is never counted towards Long Term Residency or Citizenship.
If you have Stamp 2A you are not entitled to work. If you have Stamp 2 you can work up to 20 hours during the term time and up to 40 hours during the holidays.

Children who join their family in Ireland

If you came to Ireland to join your family and your parent or parents were not international students and you were granted Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A then you can use these stamps to qualify for Irish citizenship as long as you apply for citizenship before you turn 24 years of age.

Stamp 3

Spouse/Dependent of an Employment Permit Holder

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 3 immigration stamps you can apply for Stamp 3 Long Term Residency (valid for 5 years) and Citizenship.

If you are granted a Spousal/Dependent Work Permit, when you have 60 months based on your Stamp 1 immigration stamps you can apply for Stamp 4 Long Term Residency or Citizenship.

Other Stamp 3 permissions

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 3 immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

Stamp 4

Leave to remain/parent of an Irish child/de facto partner of an Irish citizen

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

Spouse/Civil Partner of an Irish citizen

When you have 36 months (3 years) based on your Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

Refugee status

When you have been living in Ireland for 36 months (3 years) you can apply for Citizenship.

Work authorisation/work visa

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Long Term Residency and Citizenship.

Long Term Residents

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 1 and Stamp 4 immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

Stamp 4EU FAM

When you have 54 months (4.5 years) based on your Stamp 4EU FAM immigration stamps you can apply for a Permanent Residence Card.

When you have 60 months (5 years) based on your Stamp 4EU FAM immigration stamps you can apply for Citizenship.

For more information on applying for permanent residency go to: www.inis.gov.ie.

For more information on applying for citizenship go to: www.inis.gov.ie

Stamp 5

It is also possible to apply for ‘Without Condition as to Time’ Endorsement (Stamp 5). In order to apply for this you will need to have been living in the state for 8 years. Time spent in the country on student permission or seeking asylum does not count towards Stamp 5. This is a residency option for people who may not wish to apply for Irish citizenship.

For more information see: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Without_Condition_As_To_Time_Endorsements

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De facto relationships

I am a non-EU citizen. I have an Irish partner. Can I apply for residency in Ireland?

Yes. You will need to prove a committed relationship and that you have been living together for at least 1 year. For more information go to: www.inis.gov.ie or contact Crosscare Migrant Project.

I am a non-EU citizen. I have a partner who is an EU citizen. Can I apply for residency in Ireland?

Yes. You will need to prove a 2 year durable relationship. For more information go to: www.inis.gov.ie or contact Crosscare Migrant Project.

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Citizenship

How do I qualify for Irish citizenship?

You can qualify for Irish citizenship either through

  • Birth or Descent or
  • Naturalisation

Through Birth or Descent

Under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004, children born of foreign national parents on or after 1 January 2005 are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. One of the parents must be legally resident in Ireland for at least three out of the previous four years immediately before the birth of the child. On proof of a genuine link to Ireland their child will be entitled to Irish citizenship.

If either of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are automatically entitled to be an Irish citizen, regardless of your place of birth. If you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born in Ireland, then you are entitled to be an Irish citizen.

If your parent got Irish citizenship before you were born, for example, through marriage, adoption or naturalisation, you are also entitled to Irish citizenship.

If one of your grandparents is an Irish citizen but neither of your parents is an Irish citizen, you may become an Irish citizen. You will need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register.

Through Naturalisation

Naturalisation is the process whereby a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish citizen. In order to apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you must have been physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time.

Who is eligible for naturalisation?

If you wish to become an Irish citizen through naturalisation, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older, or
  • Be a minor born in the State, and
  • Be of good character – the Garda Síochána (Ireland’s police) will be asked to provide a report about your background. Any criminal record or ongoing proceedings will be taken into consideration by the Minister for Justice and Equality in deciding whether or not to grant naturalisation
  • Details of any proceedings, criminal or civil, in the State or elsewhere, should be disclosed in the application form, and
  • Have had a period of 1 year’s continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and, have had a total reckonable residence in the State of 4 years in the previous 8 years. (Altogether you must have 5 years reckonable residence out of the last 9 years)
  • Intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation, and
  • Make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State

It is important to note that time spent on a student visa, a working holiday visa or time during an unsuccessful claim for refugee status in Ireland cannot be counted as a period of reckonable residence for naturalisation purposes.

The Minister for Justice and Equality has power to waive one or more of the conditions for naturalisation:

  • If you are of Irish descent or of Irish associations or are a parent or guardian applying on behalf of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations
  • If you are a naturalised parent applying on behalf of a minor child
  • If you are the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen (a total of only 3 years reckonable residence is required)
  • If you have been resident abroad in the public service
  • If you are recognised as a refugee (a total of only 3 years reckonable residence is required) or a stateless person

I am applying for citizenship. I need to send a certified translation of my birth certificate. How do I do this?

A Certified Translator can do this for you. A Certified Translator has fulfilled all the criteria set by the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association.

The list of official documents that require Certified Translation includes:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce or separation papers
  • Death certificates
  • Adoption papers
  • Custody papers
  • Degrees and Diplomas
  • Affidavits
  • Court rulings

For more information contact:

Irish Translator’s and Interpreters’ Association, Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8726282
Email: itiasecretary@gmail.com
Web: www.translatorsassociation.ie

Am I entitled to apply for Irish citizenship if my parents become Irish citizens?

This depends on your age. If you are under 18 then your parents may apply on your behalf for Irish citizenship. If you are 18 years of age or older you will have to apply for citizenship yourself.

For more details on citizenship and application forms for naturalisation contact the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service at www.inis.gov.ie

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Immigration support groups near you:

Dublin

Crosscare Migrant Project
1 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1(appointments only)
Drop in Centre: 2 Sackville Place

Telephone: 01 8732844
Email: migrantproject@crosscare.ie
Website: www.migrantproject.ie

Cairde (ethnic health issues)
19 Belvedere Place, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 855 2111

Email: info@cairde.ie
Website: www.cairde.ie


Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
28 North Great George's Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8897570
Email: info@mrci.ie
Website: www.mrci.ie

New Communities Partnership
Head Office
53 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 872 7843
Email: info@newcommunities.ie
Website: www.newcommunities.ie

Cork Office
107 Shandon Street, Cork
Telephone: 021 2399 910
Email: ncpcork@gmail.com

Immigrant Council of Ireland
2 St. Andrews Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6740200
Email: info@immigrantcouncil.ie
Website: www.immigrantcouncil.ie

Irish Refugee Council
37 Killarney Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 764 5854
Email: info@irishrefugeecouncil.ie
Website: www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie

Cork

NASC - the Irish Immigrant Support Centre
Ferry Lane, off Dominick St., Cork
Telephone: 021 4503462
Email: info@nascireland.org
Website: www.nascireland.org

Galway

Galway Migrant Service
C/o Galway City Partnership, 3 The Plaza, Headford Road, Galway
Telephone: 091 773466 / 086 6020580
Email: katya@galwaymigrantservice.ie

Limerick

Doras Luimni
Mount Street, Vincent O’Connell Avenue, Limerick
Telephone: 061 310328
Email: info@dorasluimni.org
Website: www.dorasluimni.org

Ennis

Clare Immigrant Support Centre
Carmody Business Centre, Carmody Street, Ennis, Co. Clare
Telephone: 065 6822026 or 087 2385990
Email: cisc@eircom.net

Mayo

Mayo Intercultural Action
Hill House, Mountain View, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Telephone: 094 9044511
Email: miamayo@eircom.net
FB https://www.facebook.com/MayoInterculturalAction/

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This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund
and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Dept of Justice & Equality & Pobal.