HPIn 1939 HP was founded in Palo Alto and it has gone from strength to strength.  Throughout all those years, it has not always gone well.  They have brought a few products on the market that have not been brilliant, have entered a few markets that were not their forte and have bought a few companies they shouldn’t have bought and some they shouldn’t have bought for the price they paid.

One of the things Larry Page of Google was mentored to do was to re-appraise has business and to cease non performing products.  (Every great leader uses mentors)  Well, he has taken that advice on board and done just that.  He has instructed his people to examine the system.  "We're in the process of shutting a number of products which haven't had the impact we'd hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward," Urs Holzle, senior vice president of operations at Google, wrote in a blog post.

Brussels, 15 February 2005. IP/05/178. 

EU flagSubstantial progress in promoting small enterprises through learning from each other’s good practices has been achieved by Member States, and in particular the new Member States. The 5th Implementation Report of the European Charter for Small Enterprises lists progress in the following fields: education for entrepreneurship, better regulation, bankruptcy law and skills shortages, especially measures to overcome the lack of skilled technicians and engineers. Since 2000, the Charter, which provides a framework to help signatories take action to support small enterprises, has expanded from the EU-15 to 35 countries across Europe. The Charter commitments are also spreading beyond Europe with the recent signing of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise, involving another nine countries.

Can you create your own Brand?

brandsBrands live in the hearts and minds of consumers. Brand managers can provide the oxygen for brands to live through high quality imagery, design and story telling. Powerful brands that match the customer experience to their promise and deliver in a consistent professional manner set themselves apart from the competition and ultimately lead to strong differentiated profitable businesses.

The start of a New Independent Alliance in Dublin

The start of the new Independent Alliance outside the Dail

Today saw the start of a new Political Independent Alliance in Dublin run by Shane Ross TD.  It is a mix of TDs, Senators and County Councillors.  It was launched on the Plinth at Leinster House and through a miscommunication or a lack of understanding, the launch had to reconvene on the road at the gates of Leinster House.

Ireland ahead of UK and behind Germany, Norway and Denmark

IMD World Competiveness YearbookThe US, Hong Kong and Singapore are the top dogs according to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competiveness Yearbook 2015.  The US has been in the number one slot for a few years and it is as a result of its strong business efficiency and financial sector, its innovation drive and the effectiveness of its infrastructure.  Switzerland are in 4th slot, losing two slots from last year.


Part 1  

Part 2  

Part 3  

Part 4  

Part 5  

PDF Here

34 Budget Downloads can be got here


Under the Tax Credit system, Tax Payable = Gross Tax minus Tax Credits.
Gross tax liability is calculated on your total income (after deduction of superannuation and permanent health benefit) by applying 20% to income up to your standard rate cut-off point and 40% on the remainder. The cut-off point in 2015 will be:

Standard Rate Cut-off Income 2015



12 Month Value




Single Person Child Carer



Married (one income)



Married (two incomes)



If you rent rooms in your own home for less than €12,000 gross, this will be exempt from income tax and USC, provided the tenant is not your own child, and the rent is not being paid by the employer of the tenant.

If you care for up to 3 children in your home and receive less than €15,000, this income will be exempt from tax but a minimum €500 Social Insurance is payable. If you exceed these amounts, the exemption is lost and the whole lot is taxed. You must be registered with the HSE as a child minder.

Your Tax Certificate will show the annual value of all your Tax Credits and the equivalent weekly or monthly amount which are subtracted from this gross liability to yield the tax payable:

Tax Credits 2015


Single Person


Married Couple




Single Person Child Carer


PAYE Credit (per individual)


Age Tax Credit (per individual)


Incapacitated Child


Home Carer’s Tax Credit


Dependent Relative



  • The Home Carer’s Tax Credit is available to a spouse in a one-earner family who is caring in the home for a child who is eligible for Child Benefit or for an aged or disabled person. You must apply for this allowance. The home is allowed to have up to €5,080 income of their own, thereafter the credit is reduced, reaching zero if income exceeds €6,700. Carer’s Allowance is not counted as income in this means test, nor is income from child-minding under €15,000.
  • Single Person Child Carer Credit applies to a single or widowed person if you are the principal carer of a child aged under 18, over 18 in full-time education, or permanently incapacitated.
  • Dependent Relative Credit is claimable if you support a widowed mother or incapacitated relative whose income does not exceed the contributory OAP.
  • A parent with dependent children who is widowed gets an additional tax credit in each of the 5 subsequent tax years of €3,600, €3,150, €2,700, €2,250 and €1,800 respectively.

Tax credits which are unused are not refundable. They will be carried forward from week to week during a tax year, but if unused after the end of the tax year, they are lost.

Age Exemption: Persons aged 65 or over are exempt from income tax if their gross incomes from all sources is under €18,000 (single), €36,000 (married).

An Incapacitated Person, or one or more of their family, can deduct up to €50,000 from their taxable income to employ a home help.

Mortgage Interest: Mortgage relief does not apply to new loans taken out after 31 December 2012.

Certain expenses carry a 20% Tax Credit:

  • Water Charges up to a max €500.
  • All unreimbursed Medical Expenses (excluding Nursing Home expenses which are allowed at your marginal rate); Maternity care; a Psychological Assessment and Speech Therapy for children. You can also claim for the medical expenses of a close relative or any incapacitated or elderly person regardless of their means. Routine Dental or Optical Care don’t qualify.
  • Health Insurance This relief is now granted at source and deducted from your premium by the insurer. Relief is confined to the first €1,000 per adult, €500 per child on renewals.
  • Insurance to cover long-term care costs in the event of serious disability, and to cover non-routine dental costs.
  • College Fees (including Tuition Fee and Student Contribution) of up to €7,000 for each student for full or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate courses in accredited courses in Ireland. However, the first €3,000 of each claim in 2015 is disregarded (i.e. for parents paying only the Student Contribution of €3,000, relief only applies for the second and subsequent child in college).
  • Course Fees between €315 and €1,270 per course for foreign language or ICT courses (approved by SOLAS).
  • Rent Payments by tenants to private landlords is being phased out. Only tenants renting before 7 December 2010 still qualify. For them relief in 2015 is up to a maximum €600 (single), €1,200 (married/widowed), and if you are aged 55 or over up to €1,200 and €2,400 respectively. This is to be phased out by 2018.

Employer provided childcare is subject to income tax as Benefit in Kind.

A Universal Social Charge applies to gross income from whatever source (excluding only Social Welfare Payments) and without deduction of pension contributions

  • 1.5% up to €12,012 (€231 per week)
  • 3.5% on the next €5,563 (next €107 per week)
  • 7% on the next €52,468 (€1009 per week)
  • 8% on the remainder

An exemption applies to persons whose total income is under €12,012 (€231 per week). The self-employed pay 11% on income over €100,000. Persons aged 70 or over and Medical Card holders whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 pay a maximum 3.5%.

Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) applies to gross income (with no deduction for pension contributions) of workers and the self-employed aged 16-66. A single rate of 4% now applies to both categories with no ceiling. Public servants on modified rate will now pay 4% on their income in excess of €75,036. All workers are exempt from Social Insurance if they earn less than €352 per week. The minimum contribution by a self-employed person is €500 per year. From 2014 PRSI applies to unearned income of persons who are required to make a tax return. Insignificant income (e.g. bank interest) of a PAYE payer is not affected.

Pensions: A certain portion of gross earnings under €115,000 can be put into a pension tax free. It is up to 15% (under 30 years) rising in steps to 40% (60 years or over), allowable at your top rate of tax. However, a ceiling of €2 million applies to the total value of a person’s pension plan. Any benefit that accrues over that value will have a 41% retention charge, before ordinary tax is applied to the balance. In 2014 and 2015 a person may withdraw 30% of AVCs, but you will be taxed at your marginal rate of tax. The levy on private pension funds is being reduced from 0.75% to 0.15% in 2015 and eliminated thereafter.

DIRT Tax: A single retention tax of 41% applies to interest earned on ordinary deposit accounts, investment accounts and all Credit Union accounts. Persons who are 65 and over, or permanently incapacitated, can, if your total income is not sufficient to make you taxable, notify your bank and receive the interest without deduction of DIRT. From 14 Oct 2014 until end 2017, First Time Buyers can get a refund of DIRT on savings to make up a deposit of up to 20% on the purchase of a home.

Local Property Tax is chargeable on the owner of a residential property at a rate of 0.18% of the market value on 1 May 2013 as fairly assessed by that owner (a higher 0.25% applies to the excess over €1million). This valuation will not change before 1st November 2016. For 2015 the Dublin Councils have agreed to reduce the tax due under this calculation by 15%.

Exemptions include:

  • New houses purchased up to October 2016 will be exempt until the end of 2016.
  • Houses vacant, where the occupant can no longer live alone due to long-term infirmity.

Inability to pay:

An owner may defer the entire payment:

  • For an indefinite period where gross income does not exceed €15,000 (single) or €25,000 (couple).
  • Up to 2017 where gross incomes less 80% mortgage interest falls below €15,000 (single) or €25,000 (couple) and may defer half the payment under these tests up to €25,000 (single), €35,000 (couple). Interest of 4% of the deferred tax will be added each year to be recovered from the sale/transfer of the property.

Home Renovation Incentive:

An income tax credit of 13.5% applies to home renovations up to a maximum expenditure of €30,000 undertaken before 31 December 2015 and will be refunded over the two years following the year in which the works are carried out. To qualify at least €5,000 (inclusive of VAT) must be spent. Both home owners and landlords can avail of this credit. The tax credit is only available where Local Property Tax and Household Charge are up to date. If planning permission is required, you have up to March 2016 to complete the works.



The Basic Social Welfare rates from January 2015 are:

Basic Social Welfare rates from January 2015



Adult Dependent

Contributory OAP (Full Rate)


€206.30 (aged 66 or over)

Non Contributory OAP


€144.70 (aged 66 or over)

Contributory Widows - under 66



Contributory Widows - 66 or over



Invalidity Pension



Maternity Benefit



Supplementary Welfare



Carer’s Allowance - under 66



Carer’s Allowance - 66 or over



All Other Payments



Living Alone Allowance



Over 80 Allowance


  • A 25% Christmas Bonus will be paid in December 2014 to all persons on long-term (over 15 months) Welfare payments.
    • Child Benefit of €135 per month is payable for all children up to their 18th birthday, if in full-time education, from January 2015.
    • Qualified Child Payment of €29.80 is paid to persons on Social Welfare up to the end of the academic year in which the child reaches 18. A person on Social Welfare for over 26 weeks can claim up to 22nd birthday if in full-time education. Full rate QCP will be paid if your spouse is working and earning no more than €400.
    • A Back-to-School payment of €100 for pupils aged 4-11 and €200 for pupils aged 12-22 (children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education).
    • Family Income Supplement: A couple or a single parent on low pay, who work for at least 19 hours per week combined (including job-sharers), can get a supplement for their children (including those 18-22 in full-time education). The payment is calculated at 60c for each €1 by which your take-home family income (i.e. net of tax, USC, PRSI and superannuation) falls below the following income:
      • €506.00 for a family with one child, plus
      • – €96 for second, €101 for third, €121 for fourth, and €126 (approx) for each other child.
      • If you qualify, the payment will last at least 52 weeks and it will be of a minimum €20 per week. You may also be eligible for a Back-to-School payment from the HSE, but the means tests are not identical. FIS will not affect your eligibility for a Medical Card. You can claim One Parent Family Payment and your FIS is not counted as means.
      • A widow(er) with children receives a once-off €6,000 in the year of bereavement. Bereavement Grant is no longer payable from 1 January 2014, but a Deceased Person’s Payment continues to be paid for six weeks to their spouse after their death (provided that their spouse is also getting a weekly welfare payment).
      • The Dept of Social Protection pays Domiciliary Care Allowance €309.50 per month, an annual Water Allowance of €100 and an annual respite grant of €1,375 up to their 16th birthday for children with a severe disability who require substantial and documented extra care. A half-rate payment is payable to a child in institutional settings who live at home for 2 days or more. At 16, the child may apply for Disability Allowance.
      • Free Pre-School for one year is available to any child aged more than 3 years and 2 months, and less than 4 years and 7 months on 1 September, covering 3 hours daily for 38 weeks.
        A pre-school cannot charge parents extra for the hours covered by the scheme, but can charge for extra hours or for additional activities as long as these are optional.
      • FUEL SCHEME: A Fuel Allowance of €20 per week is payable for 26 weeks if you are on long-term Social Welfare with no more than €100 per week in household income over the contributory pension rate. However, to qualify, you must be living alone, or only with dependants or another person on long-term Social Welfare or the JSA. Recipients who do not already receive a Water Allowance as part of the Household Benefits Package will get an annual Water Allowance of €100.
      • Supplementary Welfare: The Community Welfare Officer may help out with the following:
        • A weekly payment if you are sick or unemployed and have not received Social Welfare.
        • Exceptional heating supplement can be paid in serious medical circumstances.
        • A once-off payment for unforeseen needs such as a funeral, fares to visit or attend hospital, a robbery, fire or flood; or for unaffordable essential needs such as: furniture or kitchen equipment when setting up home; needs associated with pregnancy and a new baby; clothing or replacing essential equipment for older people on low income or in poor health; children’s clothing in exceptional situations.
        • Help if the repayment schedule sought by the Electricity/Gas to sort out a serious arrear causes excessive hardship.

In assessing eligibility, the CWO takes into account all income coming into the house including part-time earnings of a spouse and income of other adults. Full-time students and persons working over 30 hours are not generally eligible. Decisions can be appealed to Social Welfare Appeals Office, D’Olier House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2 (Ph: 01-6732800; LoCall 1890 74 74 34).

  • Treatment Benefit covers free dental, optical examinations and Medical and Surgical Appliances (including half the cost of hearing aids, max €500 per aid once every 4 years) for the insured worker, their spouse and retired people who have the required number of PRSI contributions. Illness Benefit is only payable after the sixth day of absence from 1 January 2014.
  • To qualify for the State Pension you must be 66. The Transition Pension ceased for persons reaching 65 from 1 January 2014 onwards. From 1 January 2021, the State Pension age is increasing to 67.
  • Household Benefit Package: If you are 66 or over or permanently incapacitated, and living alone except for dependants, a spouse on Social Welfare, another pensioner, or someone giving you full-time care, you can receive the following concessions along with your Irish or British Social Welfare Pension:
    • Electricity or Natural Gas up €35 per month, and
    • Free television licence and
    • Free water allowance of €25 per quarter.

Pensioners who don’t have a Social Welfare pension can qualify at age 66 on the same terms provided their means don’t exceed the Contributory OAP rate by more than €100.

If you are aged 70 or over, you can qualify for all of these free schemes regardless of your income or its source and regardless of who lives with you. If you are widowed and aged 60 or over, you can retain the free schemes and free travel if your late spouse had them, and you satisfy the other conditions.

  • Part-time Working
    • A person on Jobseeker’s Benefit loses one fifth of your payment for each day you work including work on a Sunday. A person on Jobseeker’s Allowance will have 60% of your daily earnings over €20 deducted from the total weekly payment. In both cases, you get no payment if you work more than 3 days.
    • From 1 January 2015 a Single Parent can earn €75 per week (after Pension Contributions and PRSI) without affecting your entitlement to One Parent Family Payment. Half the remainder of your gross earnings up to €425 per week is assessed as means. If you earn between €75 and €425 per week you may qualify for a reduced payment. Up to €95.23 of Maintenance is disregarded where there are housing payments to be met, thereafter half of the payment is assessed. One Parent Family Payment is to cease when the youngest child reaches 7 years. This applies from July 2014 for persons whose claim was made after 3 May 2012, and from July 2015 for all other claimants.
    • Jobseeker’s Allowance is cut to €150 if a job offer or activation measure is refused.
    • A person claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance whose spouse is working will be paid the rate for a claimant and an adult dependent less 60% of their spouse’s earnings (after deduction of pension contribution, PRSI and union subscriptions) in excess of €60 per week.
    • A single person under 25 living at home who has left school can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, but will be assessed with 34% of their parents’ disposable income (after deduction of tax, PRSI, superannuation, mortgage/rent, Health Insurance, Union Fees, €600 for a two-parent family, €470 for a single parent and €30 per child). Once you qualify for any payment, a minimum €40 per week is paid. The payment is capped at €100 for persons aged 18-24 and €144 aged 25, where they have no children.
    • The duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit is 9 months (6 months for those with less than 260 paid contributions).
      • Returning to Work: A person returning to work after 12 months or more unemployed, or as a lone parent, retains GP cover for 3 years. You may also retain Rent Supplement for 1 year, where the Council has deemed you eligible, but the Supplement is recalculated based on your new earnings level. From Jan 2015 a new Back to Work Family Dividend allows you retain the Qualified Child weekly payment of €29.80 in full for 1 year, and half rate for the second year.





  • A person who has been on Social Welfare for at least 12 months can claim Back to Work Enterprise Allowance when you start a business. It allows you retain part of your Social Welfare payments, tax free, for 2 years (100%, 75%), obtain support grants up to €2,500 and retain your secondary benefits. You can also apply for an exemption from income tax for 2 years up to a max of €40,000 per year.
  • A Short-term Enterprise Allowance can be claimed by anyone who has been made redundant or who is eligible for Jobseekers Benefit. It allows you to retain benefit until it expires (max 12 months). If you have been on Social Welfare for at least three months, you can retain your payment and secondary benefits but the scheme will not extend the duration of your entitlements.
  • Help with a start-up is also available from the Local Enterprise Office (Fingal Tel: 8900800, City Tel: 6351144). Microfinance Ireland (Tel: 01 2601007) can lend up to €25,000 to a person who can’t get bank finance.
  • JobBridge: offers an internship of 6-9 months to persons who have been signing on as available to work and getting a payment or credits for at least 3 months. Time on completed programmes in FÁS training, back to education or a community scheme will count towards eligibility. Participants will receive €50/week on top of their welfare. See
  • JobsPlus: is designed to help those who have been at least 12 months out of work in the past 18 months. It gives an employer who recruits you a €72-per-week subsidy for 2 years (€96-per-week if the person has been unemployed for more than 24 months), provided the job provides work on at least 4 days and 30 hours per week. Visit www.jobsplus.ieto register online.
  • Springboard: offers free part-time certificate, degree or post-graduate courses in Institutes of Education to those signing on at the time of starting, and allows retention of welfare payments. See www.springboardcourses.ieMomentum offers a mix of training and on-the-job experience across a range of sectors (running 11-45 weeks) to a person who has been on the Live Register for at least 12 months. See
  • Back to Education Allowance (from Dept of Social Protection) or a VTOS Allowance (VEC) is claimable if you are undertaking a full-time course leading to a recognised certificate at second, third or post-graduate, and are:
    • at least 21 years of age (18, if out of education for at least 2 years), 24 if post-graduate and
    • on Social Welfare for at least 3 months (for Second Level), 6 months (VTOS), or 9 months (for Third Level), or immediately if you lose your job and get statutory redundancy.


A maximum rate of €160 BTEA/VTOS will be paid to persons aged 25 or under. If you are on these schemes, you must apply for waiver of the Student Contribution under the third level grant. Part-time VTOS options can be taken up without affecting Social Welfare entitlements subject to approval.

  • A means-tested grant towards the costs of attending college is available from If you are dependent on your parents, your income (if any) is assessed along with your parents’ gross income. The grant covers:

Upper Income Limit (fewer than four children)


Special Rate Maintenance (€2,375) and Student Contribution (€3,000)


Full Maintenance (€1,215) and Student Contribution (€3,000)


(with part-entitlement graded down with rising income to:)


Half Student Contribution (€1,500)


The maintenance payments are higher if your college is over 45 kilometres from your home (€5,915 (Special Rate), €3,025 (Full Rate)). To qualify for the special rate, one of those whose income is being assessed must be on FIS or a Social Welfare payment. For each additional family member in college, about €4,700 is added to the other means-tests. Families with four or more dependent children also have higher upper income limits. If you are over 23, and have been living independently of your parents from 1 October of the year before entry onto the course, the means-test will apply to your own income (and that of your partner if any).




  • Primary Medical Cover: A Medical Card entitles you to all health services free. A GP Visit Card covers the cost of visits to the doctor for your family. The means test for these cards is based on net income i.e. after the deduction of tax and PRSI; of reasonable expenses on rent or mortgage; on travel to work; on childcare and of regular weekly out-of-pocket medical expenses. Savings are valued in the same way as for non-contributory OAP. The cards will be granted if your remaining income after these deductions does not exceed the following guideline for 2015:

Medical Cards


Medical Card

GP Only


Under 66

66 and over

Under 66

66 and over

Single living alone





Single living with family





Married or cohabiting couple





(or single parent)


Additional Allowance for Dependent Children


Medical Card

GP Only


for each of first two children under 16





for third and each subsequent child under 16





for each of first two children over 16





for third and each subsequent child over 16                        





for each child over 16 in full time third





level education (no grant)


The HSE will consider cases outside these guidelines in special circumstances, for example to cover one family member with high medical costs. Medical Card holders do not have to pay exam fees for children. Persons with British or EU pensions, who have no Irish Social Welfare pension, generally qualify for the Medical Card regardless of income. Students will only qualify for a Medical Card in their own right if they have an independent income of at least €164 (this can include a student grant which would not count in the Medical Card means-test).

  • Persons aged 70+ qualify for free GP services if their gross income is between €500 and €700 (for a single person) or between €900 and €1,400 (for a married or cohabiting couple) and qualify for a Medical Card if their gross weekly income is less than €500 per week (single), or €900 (couple).
    • Once either spouse qualifies at 70, both get cover.
    • A surviving partner aged over 70 will be allowed to keep their Medical Card for three years, provided their
      income does not exceed €900 per week.
    • In the means test, the first €36,000 (single), €72,000 (couple) of savings and investments are disregarded. On the balance only the income actually earned will be counted, but a notional rate of 2.3% will be applied if no certificate of interest is supplied.
    • Negotiations are underway to extend free GP cards to children aged under six and all those over 70 who are not already covered.
    • A €2.50 charge per prescription item applies to Medical Card holders (max €25 per month per family). It does not apply to those on the Long-term Illness Scheme.
    • Drug Refund:  Any individual or family can get a refund on the cost of prescribed drugs used in any month in excess of €144 provided the drug is on the government list.
    • General Hospital Entitlements: Everyone is entitled to public in-patient and out-patient hospital services. However, if you see a consultant privately, you will have to pay privately for any test or care arising, unless you give notice that you wish to switch back to join the public waiting list for the treatment.
    • Charges: With the exception of Medical Card holders, and children with long-term ailments or referred from school health examinations, the following charges must be paid in major public hospitals:
      • Casualty and Outpatient €100 unless referred by your doctor or admitted to hospital.
      • Public patients pay €80 per night (up to a max €800 in a year).
      • Private patients pay charges even if they are in public wards. The charges are €329-€407 (day care) and €659-€813 per night (in ward), €800-€1,000 (single room).
      • Nursing Home Support:Under the “Fair Deal” patients seeking a place in either a Private or a Public Nursing Home now have the same assessment of need and the same means-test for payment. The patient will be liable to pay towards the cost of care:
        • 80% of assessable income (i.e. after deduction of tax, PRSI, mortgage/rent and out-of-pocket medical expenses)
        • plus 7.5% of the value of any assets, for a maximum of 3 years. The first €36,000 (single), €72,000 (couple) of assets are disregarded.

A spouse is assessed with half of the couple’s joint income and assets. The HSE can assess assets transferred in the past 5 years. The balance of the cost will be met by the State.

If the assets are in property, the contribution can be deferred until settlement of the person’s estate, but the money owing will be increased by the Consumer Price Index each year. In the case of the family home only, the contribution will be capped at 22.5% (i.e. after three years of care). The deferred charge against the home will not be collected during the lifetime of a surviving spouse or a disabled child. This deferral must be separately requested by the patient, or by a care representative approved by the Circuit Court for a patient who is not capable of making the decision themselves.

  • HOME CARE PACKAGE: can be applied for, where care in the home is necessary either on discharge from hospital, or to keep a person out of institutional care. Eligibilty is based on a Care Needs Assessment and is not based on a means-test or holding a Medical Card.
  • Carer’s Allowance: A person who is living with (or close by with a direct communication system) and giving full-time care to a child on Domiciliary Care Allowance, or to any person aged 16 or over requiring full-time care, can apply for a means-tested weekly Carer’s Allowance of €204 (€239 if carer is 66 or over) plus an annual €1,375 Respite Grant. In the means-test, any weekly income of the carer in excess of €332.50 (single), or half of their own and their spouse’s income in excess of €665 (married) is assessed. The allowance is reduced accordingly. Half rate Carer’s Allowance is payable to persons receiving another Social Welfare payment.
    An additional 50% allowance and full respite grant will be paid to a person caring for more than one incapacitated person. Carers are entitled to free travel in their own right. A carer can take up training or paid employment for up to 15 hours per week. Carers are entitled to credited contributions to keep them in benefit. When they cease caring, they are entitled to go on Back to Work, Back to Education or Community Employment Schemes.
  • Persons caring full time can qualify for €1,375 Respite Grantregardless of means, but persons working over 15 hours or on Jobseeker payments will not qualify.
    • A Carer’s Benefit of €205 based on your Social Insurance can be claimed for short-term absences from work (up to 24 months) for caring responsibilities. It is available to all insurance classes except S and J. Limited work earning up to €332.50 per week is permissible, while claiming this benefit. Your job is protected for the 24-month duration.


Update on Water Charges:

  • Starting date for domestic water charging has been pushed back to 1 January 2015; first bills to issue from April 2015.
  • There will capped charges of €160 for single adult households and €260 for all other households until end 2018, with specific legislative provision to be made to allow for capped charges to continue to be set from 2019 onwards;
  • All eligible households will receive a water conservation grant of €100 per year;
  • The net yearly cost for water will be either €60 for a single adult household or €160 for all other households until 2019;
  • For the purpose of metered bills, the charge for water in/out is reduced to €3.70 per 1,000 litres (almost 25% lower than the previous subsidised rate);
  • Households with either a water supply only or sewage only service will pay 50% of these rates;
  • Metered usage can lead to lower charges.  So if your meter comes in lower than the capped charge you pay the metered charge; the Children’s allowance remains at 21,000 litres per annum and will apply to all persons resident in the dwelling aged under 18 (irrespective of whether the child qualifies for Child Benefit), meaning children will continue to go free;
  • Dwellings that are not permanently occupied will pay a minimum of €125 per year (€62.50 per service) up to a cap of €260;
  • PPS Numbers will not be required for registration with Irish Water.


All households will know what their maximum bills will be until the end of 2018, which is particularly important for larger households or those with high usage due to medical needs.











HealthThis is part 4 of a series of 5

Part 1             

Part 2             

Part 3              

Part 4             

Part 5              

All 5 parts here

  • Primary Medical Cover: A Medical Card entitles you to all health services free. A GP Visit Card covers the cost of visits to the doctor for your family. The means test for these cards is based on net income i.e. after the deduction of tax and PRSI; of reasonable expenses on rent or mortgage; on travel to work; on childcare and of regular weekly out-of-pocket medical expenses. Savings are valued in the same way as for non-contributory OAP. The cards will be granted if your remaining income after these deductions does not exceed the following guideline for 2015:



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