Free GP Visits for Some Carers

The Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2018 was passed by the Dail last week – and it means that about  14,000 Carers will now be entitled to receive Free GP Care.

The Bill means that only those carers  in receipt of either full or half rate Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit will be automatically eligible for a GP service free of charge.  The Carers Benefit/ allowance is means tested – so not all carers get it.

Applications for free GP care for carers will not be possible until Sept 1st 2018


The GP visit card for children under 6 is available to all children under the age of 6.

The GP visit card is available to everyone aged over 69 without an income test.

 

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate News

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate  : July 18th 2018 9am

1 GBP = 1.122 EUR

1 EUR =  0.8918 GBP

See the Latest  Exchange Rates Here


Weaker wages and Brexit chaos in the UK Conservative Party sent the pound lower against the Euro yesterday. The pound euro exchange rate fell to a low of €1.1218 before recovering some ground at the end of the day to close at €1.1247.

The highest Pound to Euro exchange rate of the past 365 days was €1.158  on 17th April 2018.
Sterling did not perform too well overall in 2017 – at its lowest point the Pound went to just €1.08 – down from €1.31 in the month before the Brexit referendum in 2016.


The Pound remains volatile because of  continuing political concerns over Brexit.   The uncertainty over Brexit will continue to  affect Sterling and we expect more volatility for the Pound throughout the next stages of Britain’s negotiations with the EU.
With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get quite stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are in a period of rate volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Exchange specialist  can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on currency exchange for large amounts –  for personal money or for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

 

 

money transfers

You might also be interested in this information about Transferring  Money from Ireland to a UK Bank

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds , Dollars  or other foreign cash for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy travel currency in Ireland

 

 

Cheapest Broadband Deals in Ireland

Broadband Price Comparison
Updated  July 17th 2018

A survey of fixed broadband usage in Ireland by COMREG last year  found that the average spend on a landline and broadband bundle was €59 a month ( €708 a year) . There are just over 1.25  million fixed residential  broadband subscriptions in Ireland – using an average of 161 GB of data per month each.

COMreg also found that over 26% of households were spending more than €71 a month on phone and broadband bundles (More than €852 a year)  .

There are substantial savings to be made by switching to a cheaper broadband provider.  Someone paying the average of €708 a year could save as much as €264 in 12 months by switching broadband and landline to the cheapest provider. The 26% who are paying at least €852 a year could save at least  €408 in 12 months by switching.

We have compared the prices of broadband packages to help you find the Cheapest Broadband Deals in Ireland.

cheapest broadband ireland

These are the current six cheapest fixed line broadband and phone bundles with unlimited broadband data and unlimited anytime phone calls to landlines .  (All speeds are at least  “upto” 100Mbs  –  actual speed will depend on your phone line in most cases). These deals are usually only available for new customers .

Prices Checked July 17th 2018

1.  . Pure Telecom have a fibre and phone bundle costing €444 in year one.  The monthly charge is €50 , reduced to €24 for the first 6 months. They use the Eircom fibre network – so the availability and connection quality etc. should be the same as Eir . Anytime landline calls included. Speeds of up to 100Mbs depending on line and location. 18 month contract.

2.  Eir – currently have  a broadband and phone bundle working out at €450  in year one .  With unlimited downloads (Fair usage cap of 1000Gb ) and free anytime calls to Irish landlines and mobiles. The usual price is high (€76 a month) but this is reduced to €35 for the first 6 months and then €40 for the next 6 months. This Eir bundle also includes free calls to UK landlines  as well as Eir Sport. It is a 12 month contract – (so you can switch again without penalty if you want to when the price rises to €76 a  month)  You can see more details of  this bundle and compare it to others from Eir HERE

 3. Vodafone have a broadband bundle priced at €540 for the first year . With broadband  speeds of upto 100Mb  and unlimited downloads ( 1 Tb fair usage cap) and unlimited calls to Irish  landlines . Vodafone’s bundle costs €50 a month (reduced to €40 for first 6 months). It is an 18 month contract.  (Add on free calls to mobiles for an extra €60 over year one )   More details can be found on Vodafone bundles at Switcher.ie

4.  Sky  have a broadband and phone bundle (TV subscription not required)  – with speeds of upto 100mb and anytime calls to Irish landlines and several international destinations. It costs €62.50 a month  with the first 12 months at €42.50 (works out at €560 in year one including equipment charges).

5. Virgin Media  (only available in larger cities and towns )  have a broadband and phone bundle with upto 240Mb speeds , anytime calls to Irish landlines and Irish mobiles, plus 400 minutes to 22 countries abroad . Priced at €59 a month (reduced to €39 for first 6 months) . This would cost €588 in the first year. (12 month contract).   Full Details and option to Sign Up Here

6. Digiweb – have a fibre broadband bundle with speeds upto 100Mbs and  “unlimited” anytime calls to Irish landlines and mobiles as well as UK landlines and mobiles. It costs €49.95 per month which works out as €599.40 in year one.  (There is a limit on calls – but it’s pretty big – 6,000 to Irish/UK landline numbers and 1,500 minutes to any Irish/UK mobiles per month. Anything over that will be charged for.) More Here

 


Broadband Price Comparison Summary (All listed bundles include anytime calls to landlines)

Broadband
Provider

Total
Cost in 1st Year
Normal Monthly Charge Max
Speed
Monthly
Data  Limit
Pure Telecom €444 €50 100Mb Unlimited
Eir
€450 €76 100Mb Unlimited
Vodafone
€540 €50 100Mb Unlimited
Sky *
€560 €62.50 100Mb Unlimited
Virgin Media
€588 €59 360Mb Unlimited
Digiweb ++
€599.40 €49.95 100Mb Unlimited

You can check current broadband prices and availability in your area on the very useful Switcher.ie site

Continue reading…

 

Back to School Allowance 2018

It’s not that long since school finished for most children – but thousands of families will already have got the  Back to School Allowance for the next school year. TheBack to School payments were due to be made during the week beginning 9th July 2018.

The Department of Social Protection pays the Back to School payment  automatically to many families that qualify. Anyone that qualifies automatically should have had a letter during June stating when and how your Allowance will be paid. If you didn’t get a letter – you will need to apply (details at the end).


Update:  July 17th :   There are currently delays in processing the Back to School   Allowance .  The Dept of Social Protection have said that applications received in the week ending 29th June are currently being processed. Those customers will shortly receive a text notification to confirm receipt of their application and where eligible, they will receive their payment soon afterwards.  They also say that anyone who has submitted a BSCFA Application after 29th June , should receive confirmation of the receipt of this application within the coming two to three weeks and, where eligible, will receive payment “as soon as possible thereafter”.

(* We hope the delay is not as bad as 2011 – when some payments didn’t go out until September.)


In 2017, Back to School payments of €49 million were made to 151,000 families in respect of over 275,000 children.

How Much Is It  ?

The back to school allowances went up in 2017  :

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2018 is  €125

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2018 is €250.

(Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college.)

Note:  Prior to 2011 the Back to School Allowance was  €305 for children over 12 and €200 for children under 12. So we are still a long way off those levels. A Back to school allowance of €200 for two and three year olds was abolished  in 2012.

Who Qualifies ?

To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance  you need to fulfil one of the criteria below:

  • Getting a social welfare payment (including Working Family Payment (was previously called FIS) and Back to Work Family Dividend) or a Health Service Executive payment, or
  •  Taking part in an approved employment scheme (back to work scheme) or
  •  Taking part in a recognised education or training course, or
    Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme, or
  • Attending a FET (formerly Fás) or, Fáilte Ireland training course.

There is also a means test  Full rules here

Application Forms for the scheme were available from the 22 June 2018. The closing date for applications is 30 September 2018.

If you need an application form, you can  text “FORM BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909  or you can collect one at any Intreo or Social Welfare office.
Any person whose circumstances have changed should contact the Department of Social Protection at 1890 66 22 44 or   0 71 91 93302 or email bscfa@welfare.ie.