Friday, August 7, 2020

Know your rights: Returning to school

 

 When schools reopen, what health and safety rules will children have to follow?

The Government plans to reopen schools at the start of the new school year – end August 2020.

Students will have to keep a physical distance from one another when they are outside the classroom, including in hallways and outdoor spaces.

Inside the classroom, students will work within designated groupings or ‘bubbles’. Schools may use PE halls and other areas as classrooms to allow for physical distancing.

Students may also do ‘blended learning’. This means that their school programme will include learning at school and online learning at home.

Students and teachers will do more hand-washing and sanitising, and they will take staggered breaks and lunch times. There will be enhanced cleaning regimes in all schools to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

If your child is using school transport, they must:

§  Maintain physical distancing while waiting for the bus

§  Use hand sanitiser when boarding the bus

§  Always sit in a pre-assigned seat

§  Always sit beside the same child (either a sibling or a child from the same class group)

§  Observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board the bus

§  Get off the bus one-by-one

If your child is in secondary school and using school transport, they must also wear a mask while waiting for and on-board the bus. Children with medical or special educational needs do not have to wear a face covering.

You can read the Government’s Roadmap for the full return to school for detailed guidance on returning to school.[


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

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

§  Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

 

 

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens InformationService CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Know your rights: How to deal with scams

Know your rights: How to deal with scams

Question: I think I’ve been scammed, can I get my money back?

If you’ve been scammed, you have been tricked into parting with your money.

The scam can come in many forms.  You may be sold fake tickets that don’t exist. You may get a missed call from a scammer and when you phone back you could be paying a premium rate.  You could get a bogus email pretending to be from your bank, trying to trick you into sharing your personal and financial information.

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

§  Stop all contact with the scammer

§  Do not send any more payments

§  If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately

§  Report the incident to your local Garda station –scamming is a criminal matter

§  Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications)

§  Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software

§  Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam

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

You may get your money back if you:

§  Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately.  In most circumstances, you bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.

§  Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

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

§  Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.

§  Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.

§  Paid by vouchers or gift card

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

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie.

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

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

§  Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens InformationService CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Update 25th July - July Jobs Stimulus

 July Jobs Stimulus

The Government announced a package of supports called the July Jobs Stimulus on 23 July 2020. The key provisions of the package include:

§  The  COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be extended to April 2021 and closed to new applications from 17 September 2020. From 17 September 2020, there will be three rates of payment:

For people who previously earned less than €200 per week

€203

For people who previously earned between €200 and €300 per week

€250

For people who previously earned over €300 per week

€300

You can read more about the social protection and employment support provisions in the press release from DEASP and on gov.ie.

§  A new Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and run until April 2021. Employers and new firms in sectors impacted by COVID-19 whose turnover has fallen 30% will get a flat-rate subsidy of up to €203 per week per employee, including seasonal staff and new employees.

§  A range of supports for business were announced. With limited exceptions, the waiver of commercial rates will be extended until the end of September and the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme will provide an 80% guarantee for a wide range of credit products from €10,000 to €1 million up to a maximum term of 6 years. Small and micro companies will be supported through additional resources for MicroFinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. This will include measures to reduce interest rates on lending for micro and small businesses, including grants equivalent to 0% interest on the first year of SBCI and MFI loans. The Future Growth Loan Scheme is being expanded.

§  The standard rate of VAT will be reduced from 23% to 21%, effective from the beginning of September for 6 months.

§  A new Stay and Spend Incentive will refund taxpayer spending on accommodation, food and non-alcoholic drinks, between October 2020 and April 2021, through a tax rebate of up to €125.

§  Enhanced levels of support will be made available under the Help to Buy scheme until December 2020.

§  An increased allowable expenditure under the Cycle to Work scheme from €1,000 to €1,500 for ebikes, and €1,250 for other bicycles will be introduced.

You can get full details of the July Jobs Stimulus on gov.ie.

 

 

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Know your rights: Rent pressure zones


Know your rights: Rent pressure zones

Question 
What is a rent pressure zone?

Answer
A rent pressure zone (RPZ) is an area where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% each year. They are areas where rents are above the national average and rising quickly. Rent pressure zones are intended to control the rise in rents in these areas. An area must meet specific criteria to become a rent pressure zone.

Most rent increases in rent pressure zones are capped at 4% and there are limits on how often the rent can be reviewed. There are different rules about the limits and frequency of rent reviews, depending on whether the tenancy in the rent pressure zone is an existing or new tenancy.

However, not all properties in rent pressure zones are subject to the 4% restriction. Some properties are exempt. A landlord can seek an exemption for: 
A property that has not been let at any time in the previous two years
A property where no previous tenancy existed that is a protected structure, or  in a protected structure or proposed protected structure and has not been let in the previous 12 months
Properties that have been substantially changed (the RTB website has full details of the types of substantial change required)

Designated rent pressure zones will be in place until 31 December 2021. You can find out if you live in a rent pressure zone by visiting citizensinformation.ie. Further information on rent pressure zones and a calculator to calculate the maximum allowable rent in a rent pressure zone is also available from onestopshop.rtb.ie/rent-pressure-zones.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. 
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Know your rights: Voting in the general election


Know your rights A: Voting in the general election

Question
Can I vote in the general election on 8 February?

Answer
To vote in an Irish general election, you must be an Irish or British citizen, 18 years of age or over and registered to vote. This means your name must be entered on one of the following:
·     The main Register of Electors
·     The Postal Voters List (people who can vote by post)
·     The Special Voters List (people who are living in a nursing home or other institution)
·     A supplement to one of these 3 lists
The 2019-20 Register of Electors and its Supplement will be used in the general election on 8 February. The 2020-2021 Register comes into effect on 15 February 2020, after the election.

To make sure you are on the 2019-20 Register, go to checktheregister.ie, or contact your local authority, Garda station, post office or public library.

If you are not on the Register, you can:
·     Contact your local authority to check if you are on the Supplement to the 2019-2020 Register. If you are on the Supplement, then you are registered to vote in the general election.
·     If you are not on the Supplement, you can register to be included in the Supplement using form RFA2. If you have changed address you use form RFA3.

Forms must be received by your local authority before close of business on 22 January 2020.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Know your rights: Drink driving

Question
What are the legal alcohol limits for driving?

Answer
It is an offence to drive in a public place if you are too intoxicated to have proper control of your vehicle. An intoxicant can be either alcohol or drugs, or both.

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

The legal limits for fully-licenced drivers are:
·         50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
·         67 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
·         22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
The legal limits for professional, learner and novice drivers are:
·         20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
·         27 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
·         9 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
GardaĆ­ can set up a roadblock to conduct random alcohol and drug testing. It is unlawful to refuse to be breathalysed, and you can be fined up to €5000, or be imprisoned for up to 6 months, or both. Penalties for drink driving vary depending on the amount of alcohol that has been detected in your system. The court will also take into account whether this is your first offence or otherwise.

All drink driving offences result in disqualification from driving for at least 3 months.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Know your rights A: Taxi charges


Question
Can taxis charge higher fares over Christmas and New Year?

Answer
Yes, taxis can charge more on certain days over Christmas. Drivers have the right to charge the maximum amount calculated on the meter, or a lower amount at their discretion. However, you can always ask for a discount before engaging a taxi.

There are three different rates under the National Maximum Taxi Fare; the standard rate, the premium rate and the special premium rate.

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

The National Maximum Taxi Fare consists of 3 separate parts:
·         Initial charge: amount which appears on the meter at the beginning of the journey. This is €3.80 at the standard rate and €4.20 at the premium rates. It includes an initial distance of 500m, or 85 seconds.
·         Further travel: after the distance/time included in the initial charge, further travel is calculated on small portions of the journey. At low speeds, or when a taxi is stationary, the fare is calculated on the basis of time. The charges for further travel differ depending on what rate applies when you are travelling.
·         Extra charges: there are strict rules about extra charges, including a booking fee, additional passenger charges and a soiling charge.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.