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Know Your Rights April 2010

April 2010


I'm getting married soon. I thought if you got married in a church you didn't need to contact a civil registrar but apparently this isn’t the case. What are the rules?


Since 2007 the registration procedure for marriage is the same whether you are marrying in a registry office or by religious ceremony.

If you wish to get married in Ireland you must give three months notification in person to a Registrar of Marriages. Marriage registration is administered by the Health Service Executive and you can get a list of marriage registrars on their website ( The Registrar does not have to be the Registrar for the district where you live or where you intend getting married.

You need to make an appointment with the Registrar to give the notification and you have to pay a notification fee of €150. You should arrange the appointment well in advance to ensure the notification is given at least three months before your wedding date. If there are no impediments to your marriage, (you have to sign a form stating this), the Registrar issues you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) giving you permission to marry. You should give the MRF to the person who will be solemnising the marriage before the marriage ceremony. Following your marriage ceremony, the completed MRF should be given to a registrar, within one month of the marriage ceremony, for the marriage to be registered.

The person solemnising the marriage must be on the Register of Solemnisers. This lists both marriage registrars and the members of the various religious bodies who have been nominated by the bodies as solemnisers. You can inspect this at your local registration office or on the General Register Office website (
If you plan to get married in a religious ceremony you should contact the church in advance to plan the ceremony. If you plan to get married by civil ceremony and a different Registrar will be solemnising the marriage, you must also contact the Registrar's Office for the district where you intend getting married.

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre.

April 2010


I am from France and have been working in Ireland for nine months. I have just heard that I am to be laid off from my job. I would like to stay here in Ireland and look for work. However I don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit because I don’t have enough PRSI contributions and I don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance because I don’t meet the habitual residence condition. Am I eligible for any income support payments while I look for a new job?


As a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national you are entitled to come to work in Ireland and to bring your family. As an EEA migrant worker you are entitled to the same social and tax advantages as Irish citizens. (If you have moved to look for work but have not found it you do not have this entitlement.) This means that if you lose income because of unemployment or illness, you are entitled to claim a means-tested weekly Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) without having to meet the habitual residence condition.

To be considered an EEA migrant worker, you must have been in genuine employment since coming to Ireland (casual work or work for only a few hours a week do not count). If you are out of work, you must meet other conditions, for example, being registered with FÁS as a jobseeker or taking part in vocational training. If you are out of work through illness you may also qualify for SWA.
If you have been paying contributions to the Irish social insurance system you may also be entitled to claim certain Irish social welfare payments (without meeting the habitual residence condition).

These payments are classified as Family Benefits under EU Regulations and include:

•    One-Parent Family Payment
•    Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)  
•    Family Income Supplement
•    Child Benefit

You should contact the Community Welfare Officer in your local health centre to apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance. Visit for more information on redundancy and job loss.

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre.

April 2010


I am a farmer but my income from farming has reduced a good deal over the past year. Can I get any help?


You may qualify for Farm Assist. Farm Assist is a means-tested social welfare payment for farmers paid by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. It is similar to Jobseeker's Allowance, but has a different means test. In addition, you do not need to be available for work to qualify.

To qualify you must be a farmer, farming land in the State, aged between 18 and 66 and satisfy a means test. The means test takes account of virtually every form of income but assesses it in different ways and disregards various amounts. Different rules apply to income from farming; other forms of self-employment; income from schemes such as the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS); income from employment; and income from property and capital.

If you have dependent children, €254 per year for each of the first two dependent children and €381 per year for each subsequent child are deducted from your means from farming and from self-employment. The difference between your assessed weekly means and the appropriate weekly amount of social welfare payment is the amount of Farm Assist payable.

You can keep your Farm Assist payment until you are 66 provided you continue to farm and continue to satisfy the means test. You do not have to visit your local social welfare office or 'sign on' to claim Farm Assist. You apply for Farm Assist by completing the application form Farm 1, which you can get from the Department's website at or your Social Welfare Local Office. You send the completed application form with the relevant certificates and documents to your Social Welfare Local Office (SWLO). Contact your SWLO or call the Department of Social and Family Affairs Information line at 1890 66 22 44 for more information.

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre.

April 2010


I've lost my job and have been struggling to keep up with my rent since. What help can I get?


Rent Supplement is a payment for people living in private rented accommodation who cannot afford to pay the full rent themselves. In general, if your only income is a social welfare or Health Service Executive (HSE) payment, you will qualify for a Rent Supplement. However, if you or your partner is in full-time employment (over 29 hours a week) you do not qualify for this payment.

You may be eligible for Rent Supplement if the accommodation is suitable for your needs, the rent is below the maximum rent level set for your county and you are:

•    Assessed in the last 12 months by a local authority as being eligible for and in need of social housing or
•    Living in accommodation for homeless people for 6 months (183 days) out of the last 12 months or
•    A tenant of accommodation provided under one of the Social Housing Schemes or
•    Living in private rented accommodation for 6 months (183 days) out of the last 12 months

You apply to the Community Welfare Officer (CWO) at your local health centre. The CWO decides if you are eligible for Rent Supplement and calculates the amount you will get. This is worked out to ensure that your weekly income after paying rent does not fall below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate (currently €196.00 for people over 25) minus €24. This is because you must pay a contribution of at least €24 towards your rent. You may pay more than €24 because you are also required to contribute any additional assessable means that you have above the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate towards your rent.

If you are in difficulty with rent arrears a new website from the Citizens Information Board and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS),, provides comprehensive information on the services and entitlements available.

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. Tel: 09064 78851 Address: St. Marys Square, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Lo-call 1890 777 121.

Archive of Citizens Information articles

posted: January 2014

Jan 7, 04:49 PM Know Your Rights January 2014

posted: November 2013

Nov 21, 03:44 PM Know Your Rights December 2013

posted: September 2013

Sep 25, 02:06 PM Know Your Rights October 2013

posted: August 2013

Aug 23, 10:28 AM Know Your Rights September 2013

posted: June 2013

Jun 19, 03:30 PM Know Your Rights July 2013

posted: May 2013

May 23, 11:52 AM Know Your Rights June 2013

posted: April 2013

Apr 24, 09:50 AM Know Your Rights May 2013

posted: March 2013

Mar 26, 10:03 AM Know Your Rights April 2013

posted: February 2013

Feb 21, 01:42 PM Know Your Rights March 2013

posted: January 2013

Jan 23, 03:53 PM Know Your Rights February 2013

Jan 7, 09:55 AM Know Your Rights January 2013

posted: November 2012

Nov 22, 12:01 PM Know Your Rights December 2012

posted: October 2012

Oct 24, 10:02 AM Know Your Rights November 2012

posted: September 2012

Sep 25, 01:25 PM Know Your Rights October 2012

posted: August 2012

Aug 22, 04:16 PM Know Your Rights September 2012

posted: July 2012

Jul 23, 03:13 PM Know Your Rights August 2012

posted: June 2012

Jun 22, 10:59 AM Know Your Rights July 2012

posted: May 2012

May 29, 11:07 AM Know Your Rights June 2012

posted: April 2012

Apr 25, 12:45 PM Know Your Rights May 2012

Apr 2, 02:44 PM Know Your Rights April 2012

posted: February 2012

Feb 21, 11:04 AM Know Your Rights March 2012

posted: January 2012

Jan 31, 02:33 PM Know Your Rights February 2012

Jan 4, 02:29 PM Know Your Rights January 2012

posted: November 2011

Nov 18, 11:29 AM Know Your Rights December 2011

posted: September 2011

Sep 20, 09:48 AM Know Your Rights October 2011

posted: August 2011

Aug 26, 02:59 PM Know Your Rights September 2011

Aug 2, 10:02 AM Know Your Rights August 2011

posted: June 2011

Jun 28, 03:54 PM Know Your Rights July 2011

posted: April 2011

Apr 27, 11:43 AM Know Your Rights May 2011

posted: March 2011

Mar 21, 12:30 PM Know Your Rights April 2011

posted: February 2011

Feb 22, 04:19 PM Know Your Rights February 2011

posted: January 2011

Jan 4, 11:02 AM Know Your Rights January 2011

posted: October 2010

Oct 29, 10:20 AM Know Your Rights November 2010

posted: September 2010

Sep 17, 04:15 PM Know Your Rights October 2010

posted: August 2010

Aug 31, 10:36 AM Know Your Rights September 2010

posted: July 2010

Jul 2, 10:15 AM Know Your Rights July 2010

posted: June 2010

Jun 4, 11:03 AM Know Your Rights June 2010

posted: April 2010

Apr 30, 11:47 AM Know Your Rights May 2010

Apr 6, 04:14 PM Know Your Rights April 2010

posted: March 2010

Mar 2, 02:16 PM Know Your Rights March 2010

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