Know Your Rights November December 2019

Know Your Rights October 2019

Know your rights A: Overtaking cyclists

Question

What are the new rules about overtaking cyclists?

Answer

On 12 November, a new offence of dangerously overtaking a pedal cyclist was introduced.  

The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 builds on existing laws by specifically penalising the dangerous overtaking of cyclists. Previously, the law made no distinction between cyclists and other road users.

Drivers who overtake a cyclist in a dangerous way can now be fined a fixed charge of €120 and will also get 3 penalty points on their licence.

There are recommended safe distances for overtaking cyclists. On roads where the speed limit is less than 50 km/h, drivers should leave 1 metre distance between the car and the bicycle and on roads where the speed limit is over 50 km/h, drivers should leave 1.5 metres.

The Road Safety Authority will put up road signs to indicate the recommended safe distances for overtaking cyclists. If you think you have been overtaken dangerously by a driver, you can contact the Garda Traffic Watch Lo-call number 1890 205 805.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights B: Christmas Bonus 2019

Question

I am getting a social welfare payment. Will I get a Christmas Bonus this year?

Answer

The Christmas Bonus is paid to people getting a long-term social welfare payment. It is paid the week beginning 2 December, to people getting the following payments:

  • State pensions
  • Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s pensions
  • Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Guardian’s payment, Partial Capacity Benefit

Jobseeker’s Transitional payment, One-Parent Family Payment, Farm Assist, Deserted Wife’s Benefit and Allowance, Magdalene Laundry Payment

  • Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Job Initiative, Back to Work Family Dividend
  • Back to Education Allowance (BTEA), VTOS and Further Education and Training (FET) training allowance (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or BTEA or VTOS or FET training allowance for 15 months)

For Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA), you must have been getting the payment for 15 months (390 days) to get a Christmas Bonus. However, if you were getting another eligible payment immediately before claiming JA or SWA, and your combined time on both eligible payments is 15 months, you will get the Christmas Bonus.

In 2019, the Christmas Bonus is 100% of your normal weekly payment (including the Living Alone Increase, the Island Allowance and the Over-80 Increase). Fuel Allowance is not included when calculating the Christmas Bonus. The minimum Christmas Bonus payment is €20. For Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), which is paid monthly, the bonus is 100% of the weekly amount.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know your rights C: Gift vouchers

Question

I usually get a gift voucher at Christmas. What are the new gift voucher rules that came in recently?

Answer

Gift vouchers are any voucher, coupon or other document (including an electronic document) that can be used instead of money to pay (or pay in part) for goods and services.

Since 2 December 2019, the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 sets out the following new rules for gift vouchers:

•           Gift vouchers must have no expiry date or be valid for at least 5 years.

•           Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher is spent in one transaction.

•           Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).

•           If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.

These new rules do not apply to:

•           Vouchers that you can only use to buy specified goods and services at a discounted price, from a specified trader on a specified date, or for a specified period of 3 months or less. For example, vouchers from deal websites such as Groupon or Pigsback.

•           Vouchers issued as part of a customer loyalty or promotion scheme.

•           Vouchers issued as a refund for goods you returned to a trader.

•           Vouchers and gift cards sold before 2 December 2019. The expiry period and the terms and conditions that applied at the time of purchase apply to these vouchers.

The new rules do not apply to electronic money gift cards (for example, One4all gift cards) which are already covered under the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know your rights D: Patient Advocacy Service

Question

I was in hospital recently and I was not happy with my experience there. When I complained to the nurse in charge I wasn’t satisfied with the response. How can I take my complaint further?

Answer

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a complaints system, called Your service your say, that you can use to make a complaint about your experience of a service provided by the HSE or on behalf of the HSE.

If you want to make a complaint about a public hospital to the HSE, you can get support from the new Patient Advocacy Service to help you make your complaint. The Patient Advocacy Service is fully independent of the HSE. It is a free and confidential service that provides information and support to people who want to make a formal complaint about an experience they have had in a public acute hospital.

The Patient Advocacy Service provides support by phone helpline, on 0818 293003, and on its website, patientadvocacyservice.ie, where you can find information and a contact form. The service can explain how to make a formal complaint, including what you should include in your complaint and how to write it.

If there is a delay with the processing of the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Patient Advocacy Service can give you information about your options.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

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

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

Know Your Rights has been compiled by your local Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

ARKLOW Citizens Information Centre

73 Lower Main Street, Arklow

Tel: 0761 07 6750 

email: arklow@citinfo.ie

Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 1.00pm; 2.00pm – 5.00pm

BRAY Citizens Information Centre

2 The Boulevard

Quinsboro Road, Bray

Tel:  0761 07 6780 Fax: 01 2116699

email: bray@citinfo.ie

Monday to Friday 10.00am – 4.30pm

Tuesdays: 7.30pm—9.00pm

WICKLOW TOWN Citizens Information Centre

9/10 Lower Mall

Tel: 0761 07 6840 

email: wicklow@citinfo.ie

Mon 10.00am to 4.30pm

Tues, Wed & Thurs 9.30am – 1.00pm & 2.00pm—5.00pm

Fri 9.30am – 1.00pm

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

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