Know your rights – June 2014

Know Your Rights A: Getting an ‘apostille stamp’

June 2014

Question

I was born in London and I have an Irish passport. I am getting married later this year in Dublin. I have been told that I must provide a birth certificate with an apostille stamp. My Irish fiancé has not been asked to produce this certificate. Why is this?

Answer

The Civil Registration Act 2004 requires both people getting married in the Republic of Ireland to provide evidence of their identities, civil status, age and nationality. If either person was born outside of the State, an authenticated birth certificate is required. Since you were born in the United Kingdom, you need such a birth certificate, even if you are entitled to an Irish passport.

The Hague Convention (1961) specifies how a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be authenticated or certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille (in French this means certification). An apostille stamp is an international certification, like a notarisation in domestic law, which authenticates or legally certifies a document.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including staff in Irish embassies, consulates and honorary consulates overseas) can authenticate documents for Irish-born people getting married abroad.

In the UK apostille stamps are issued by the Legalisation Office of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). Visit fco.gov.uk/legalisation to find out more about the process. You can also email [email protected] or telephone +4420 7008 5959.

 

 

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Bray Citizens Information Centre 3/ 4 The Boulevard, Quinsboro Road   Tel:  0761 07 6780

Arklow Citizens Information Centre 73 Lower Main Street  Tel: 0761 07 6750

Wicklow Citizens Information Centre 9/10 Lower Mall  Tel: 0761 07 6840

Baltinglass Tel: 086 048 1880   Blessington Tel: 086 048 1881

Glendalough Tel: 0404 45611  

Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Tel 0761 07 4000.


Know Your Rights B: Noisy neighbours

June 2014

Question

I moved into a new house with my two small children six months ago. A nearby workshop makes a lot of noise and disturbs our family. What can I do about this problem?

 

Answer

In situations like this you should initially approach the business causing the noise and explain that it is a nuisance and try to come to a mutually acceptable solution. If this does not work you can contact your local authority. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act 1992 gives power to local authorities in relation to noise nuisance. This means that your local authority may serve a notice on the person in charge of the noisy business, for example, a pub, disco, garage or workshop. This notice requires the person in charge to take whatever measures are set out in the notice to prevent or limit noise. The local authority may prosecute for failure to comply with the notice.

 

Another option, under the same legislation, is to take a private action through the District Court if the noise is “so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times” that it gives you reasonable cause for annoyance. You can get a standard form for making the complaint from your local District Court clerk and you must pay a small fee.

 

Before making the complaint you must inform the person or business that you will be taking them to court using a special form – Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 – noise form of notice which can be downloaded from courts.ie. It is important that you use this form of notice only and that you complete it fully and accurately.

 

The District Court will call both parties together and listen to both sides. If the court finds in your favour, it can order the person or body to limit the noise, reduce the level of noise or stop the noise completely. Any orders made by the court must be complied with. A person making noise in the course of trade or business may have a defence if it can be shown that all reasonable care was taken to prevent the noise or that the noise is in accordance with a licence issued under the EPA Act.

 

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Bray Citizens Information Centre 3/ 4 The Boulevard, Quinsboro Road   Tel:  0761 07 6780

Arklow Citizens Information Centre 73 Lower Main Street  Tel: 0761 07 6750

Wicklow Citizens Information Centre 9/10 Lower Mall  Tel: 0761 07 6840

Baltinglass Tel: 086 048 1880   Blessington Tel: 086 048 1881

Glendalough Tel: 0404 45611  

Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Tel 0761 07 4000.

Know Your Rights C: The Single European Payments Area (SEPA)

June 2014

Question

What is the Single European Payments Area?

Answer

The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) is a 34 country area, co-ordinated by the European Payments Council which is an institution of the EU. It comprises the 28 member states of the EU along with the three EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.

SEPA aims to standardise the way euro-area electronic payments are processed. Under SEPA Yall electronic payments across the euro area (by credit card, debit card, bank transfer or direct debit) should be as easy as domestic payments within one country are now. The introduction of SEPA, among other things, allows you to set up direct debits for anywhere in the euro area and use only one bank account for the whole euro area.

The main change for consumers is the way your bank and account is identified. You now need to use a 16-digit International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and an 8-digit Business Identifier Code (BIC) to make or receive electronic payments in the euro area. You can generally find BIC and IBAN information printed on your bank account statements.

 

From 1 February 2014 it became mandatory to retire existing ‘national only’ payment systems in the euro area and move all electronic payments to SEPA standards. (An additional transition period of six months to ensure minimal disruption for consumers and businesses was adopted by the European Commission. This means that payments that differ from a SEPA format can continue to be accepted until 1 August 2014.) You can visit readyforsepa.ie for more information.

 

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Bray Citizens Information Centre 3/ 4 The Boulevard, Quinsboro Road   Tel:  0761 07 6780

Arklow Citizens Information Centre 73 Lower Main Street  Tel: 0761 07 6750

Wicklow Citizens Information Centre 9/10 Lower Mall  Tel: 0761 07 6840

Baltinglass Tel: 086 048 1880   Blessington Tel: 086 048 1881

Glendalough Tel: 0404 45611  

Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Tel 0761 07 4000.


Know Your Rights D: The Energy Engage Code

June 2014

Question

What is the ‘Energy Engage’ Code?

Answer

The ‘Energy Engage Code’ is a new code of practice which aims to protect energy customers who are in financial difficulty, particularly those in arrears on their bills. It applies to five energy suppliers with effect from 1 June 2014 – these are Bord Gáis Energy, Electric Ireland, Energia, Flogas Natural Gas and SSE Airtricity.

Under the Energy Engage Code, suppliers guarantee that no customer engaging with them will be cut off. The energy suppliers will seek to identify vulnerable customers at an earlier stage. They commit to treating each customer individually and offering realistic and achievable payment plans to customers in difficulty. The Energy Engage Code will be independently audited to ensure that the participating energy suppliers are complying with it.

In addition to the new code of practice, all energy suppliers must comply with certain mandatory consumer protection standards that are set out by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER).

 

All suppliers are obliged to establish a register of vulnerable customers and to keep it updated. Customers listed on this register cannot be disconnected during the months November to March. A customer in arrears must be offered a payment arrangement, which can include the installation of a Pay As You Go meter, while avoiding a situation where the debt becomes worse.


“At risk” customers must be referred to MABS, The St Vincent de Paul Society or a representative of the Department of Social Protection (formerly called the Community Welfare Officer). A supplier can consider applying for a disconnection only if these measures fail, and only after at least four separate attempts to contact the customer have been made.

 

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Bray Citizens Information Centre 3/ 4 The Boulevard, Quinsboro Road   Tel:  0761 07 6780

Arklow Citizens Information Centre 73 Lower Main Street  Tel: 0761 07 6750

Wicklow Citizens Information Centre 9/10 Lower Mall  Tel: 0761 07 6840

Baltinglass Tel: 086 048 1880   Blessington Tel: 086 048 1881

Glendalough Tel: 0404 45611  

Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Tel 0761 07 4000.

 

 

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