crosscare migrant project

Information & Advocacy Services

LIVING IN IRELAND: An Integration Website for Migrants living in Ireland


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Children’s Rights and Welfare

Children’s rights are human rights for all children and young people under 18 years of age and are laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ireland ratified the Convention but has not incorporated it into domestic law.

Children First are the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children. These guidelines are intended to assist people identifying and reporting child abuse and to improve the practice in state and voluntary organisations that provide services for children and families.

Child and Family Agency (Tusla)

The Child and Family Agency, also called 'Tusla', is the State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It was established in January 2014 and it brings together the HSE Children and Family Services, Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board into one agency. The services of the Child and Family Agency include:

  • Child protection and Welfare Services
  • Educational Welfare Services
  • Psychological Services
  • Alternative Care
  • Family and Locally-based Community Supports
  • Early Years Services
  • Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Service

More information on the Child and Family Agency can be found at 

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Age of consent to sexual activity

The age of consent is the age at which people can legally have sex. In Ireland the age of consent (in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship) is 17.

What is the legal age to get married in Ireland?

You must be 18 years of age to get married in Ireland. If you are under 18 years of age you will need to get a Court Exemption Order so that the marriage is legally recognised. In exceptional circumstances, you may be able to get a Court Exemption Order permitting you to marry if you are under 18.

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Children’s Rights Groups

The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services:

7 Red Cow Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7

Telephone: 01 6629400


The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) is here to make sure that the government and other people who make decisions about young people really think about what is best for young people. For information in different languages go to:

Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8656800
Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40

Childline is part of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Childline provides a telephone and online help service for children:

Free Phone: 1800 66 66 66

Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children:

National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 4530355
Callsave: 1850 222 300

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Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting your child against certain diseases. In Ireland, all recommended childhood immunisations are free of charge. The HSE coordinates the immunisation programme.

For the timetable for childhood immunisation go to

If you have any questions about vaccinations you should contact your GP or your local health centre.

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Ireland has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. However, there are many benefits to breastfeeding, for example, breastfeeding provides the necessary nutrients for your baby and also helps strengthen your baby’s immune system.

There are a number of organisations which offer support for breastfeeding:

The HSE has developed a national breastfeeding website:

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Breastfeeding and the workplace

Under Irish law, breastfeeding mothers are entitled to time off or a reduction in working hours in order to breastfeed or express breast milk. In an eight hour working day, a breastfeeding mother is entitled to one hour off (with pay) as a breastfeeding break. This can be divided into:

  • One break of 60 minutes
  • Two breaks of 30 minutes or
  • Three breaks of 20 minutes.

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Childcare options

There are different options for childcare in Ireland:

  • Childminder – someone who minds your children either in your home or their home
  • Day care – this includes crèches. Children are looked after for more than 3.5 hours per day with other children of a similar age
  • Affordable childcare – for families on lower incomes. These are run by the local City or County Childcare Committee.

You can also bring your child to:

  • A playgroup – group where children meet other children of a similar age to play
  • A Montessori group – where the focus is on child development and social skills
  • A parent and toddler group – parents and their children meet up with other parents and children. The children play while the adults also meet to offer support and friendship.

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Childcare payments

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free years of childhood care and education for children who are over 3 years of age and not older than 5 and a half years. 

You should contact your local City/County Childcare Committee for more information on childcare in your local area.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also provides information in relation to the scheme:

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Childcare groups

Childminding Ireland is a membership organisation and a Registered Charity. Founded in 1983 by a small group of Childminders, it has grown to become the National Body for Childminders:

Early Childhood Ireland is the largest voluntary organisation working for young children and their families in Ireland:

Hainault House, Belgard Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Telephone: 01 4057100

National Voluntary Childcare Collaborative works towards the development of excellence in childcare services in Ireland:

Cuidiú (caring support in Irish) is a voluntary parent-to-parent support group who offer support services in three areas:

  • Antenatal classes
  • Breastfeeding Counselling
  • Postnatal and Parenthood Support

There are branches throughout the country:

Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8724501

Irish Montessori Education Board provides accreditation for Montessori schools in Ireland:

Kingston House, 64 Patrick’s Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Telephone: 01 2805705

Parent and Toddler Groups can be a great way of meeting other people with children the same age as yours in the local area. For more information about your local group contact your GP, district nurse or your local health centre.

There is also a Parent and Toddler Group Initiative which provides grants to groups. For more information contact your local City/County Childcare Committee or go to:

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Parentline provides a confidential helpline for parents and guardians:

Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8787230
Helpline: 1890 927 277
Email: provides information on parenting, pregnancy and childcare. is an online resource for parents and teachers. - Online local information for kids activities, classes, events and services.

Parents Plus is a community trust committed to developing educational materials for parents and children and to providing support to professionals working with children and families in the community:

15 St. Vincent Street North
Telephone: 01 8307984

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Family Supports

For information and support on family life contact:

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One-Parent Families

The following organisations provide information and support to one-parent families in Ireland:

Treoir – The National Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children provides information and support to parents who are not married to each other:

14 Gandon House, Custom House Square, IFSC, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 6700120
Lo-Call: 1890 252 084

One Family is a leading national organisation for one-parent families in Ireland:

8 Coke Lane, Dublin 7 
Telephone: 01 6629212
askonefamily Lo-call info line: 1890 66 22 12

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Social Welfare Payments

Family Income Supplement (FIS)

Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax-free payment for low paid working families.

How do I qualify?

You may qualify if you:

  • are an employee in paid full-time employment which is expected to last for 3 months
  • work at least 38 hours every fortnight (if you are married or living with a partner, you can combine the hours worked by your spouse or partner).
  • have at least one qualified child who normally lives with you and/or is supported by you. A qualified child is any child under age 18 or aged 18 to 22 if in full-time education
  • earn less then the limit for your family size 

What counts as family income?

The following count as family income:

  • Your earnings and your partner’s earnings
  • any other income including social welfare or Health Service Executive payments

The following do not count as family income:

  • Child Benefit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Rent Allowance for tenants affected by de-control of rents
  • Rent Supplement 
  • Guardian’s Payment
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Foster Child Allowance
  • Income from a charitable organisation
  • Any income your children have 

How long can I claim Family Income Supplement?

You can claim Family Income Supplement for 52 weeks provided you meet eligibility requirements. If your family size increases you must contact the Family Income Supplement Section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to claim a higher rate of payment.

When can I apply?

You can apply for FIS as soon as you start work.

How do I apply?

You need to complete Form FIS1 and send it to the Family Income Supplement Section:

Social Welfare Services
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Lo-Call 1890 92 77 70

What do I need to provide?

You will need to provide the following documents:

  • a number of recent payslips to show your income
  • Your latest P60 (if you have one)
  • Your Certificate of Tax Credits for the current year (if you have one)

If you are starting employment for the first time or taking up a new job, you should contact your local Tax Office for advice about your Tax Credits. For more information about FIS you can contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection:

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Child Benefit

What is Child Benefit?

In Ireland, Child Benefit is payable to the parents or guardians of qualified children normally living with you and being supported by you.

Who is a qualified child?

A qualified child is:

  • Under 16 years of age or
  • Aged 16-18 if in full-time education, attending Youthreach Training or is physically or mentally disabled and dependant on you

Since January 2010 child benefit is not paid once your child reaches 18 years of age.

When should I apply?

You need to apply for Child Benefit within 12 months of:

  • The birth of your child
  • The month the child became a member of your family
  • The month your family came to live in Ireland

How do I apply?

If you are claiming Child Benefit for the first time you need to complete Form CB1. You must include your child’s birth certificate and send it to the Child Benefit Section.

St. Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Lo-Call: 1890 400 400

Do not send the original certificate. Instead go to your local Social Welfare Office and ask for the Birth Certificate to be photocopied and stamped with the details of the office. You can then post this photocopy.

If you are claiming Child Benefit for a child who is 16 or 17, you must complete Form CB2. The form must be certified by:

  • a school or college if your child is in full-time education
  • Youthreach if your child is attending Youthreach Training
  • a medical doctor if your child is physically or mentally disabled

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Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is designed to help meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for students in Ireland attending school. 

You must be receiving certain social welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education.

Your total household income must be below a certain amount.

For more information contact your local Community Welfare Officer (CWO) who is based at your local Health Centre.

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One-Parent Family Payment

One-Parent Family Payment is a payment for men and women in Ireland who are raising children without the support of a partner. It is payable to an unmarried person, a widow(er), a separated or divorced person, a person whose marriage has been annulled or a prisoner’s spouse. It is subject to certain conditions and you must satisfy a means test.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for a payment if you:

  • are the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a qualified child
  • are the main carer of at least one child and that child is living with you
  • are not cohabiting, that is, living with someone as a partner
  • have earnings of €425 (2016 figure) or less per week
  • satisfy a means test
  • satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition

The following conditions also apply:

  • if you are separated/divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved: you must have been separated for at least 3 months and you must have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse/civil partner
  • if your spouse/civil partner is in prison s/he must have been sentenced to prison for a term of at least 6 months or have been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced.

How long can I claim One-Parent Family Payment?

One-Parent Family Payment is payable for as long as you satisfy the qualifying conditions. The payment stops, however, if you marry or live with someone as husband and wife/civil partner or if you no longer have dependent children or if your earnings exceed €425 per week.

To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least one child below the relevant age limit. From 2 July 2015 the age limit is 7 years of age.

How do I apply?

To apply for One-Parent Family Payment, complete Form OPF1 and send it to your local social welfare office.

What if I do not qualify?

If your claim is refused you have the right to appeal the decision. If you do not qualify for One-Parent Family Payment you may be eligible for other payments. You should contact your Community Welfare Officer (CWO) in your local Health Centre or you can contact your local Social Welfare Office.

Note: If you are in employment you are exempt from the Health Contribution regardless of the level of your earnings, for as long as you are getting One-Parent Family payment. You should provide proof of payment to your employer.

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Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions

There are two types of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions:

  • Contributory Pension: You will be eligible for a contributory pension if you or your deceased spouse/civil partner have enough PRSI contributions.

For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to:

  • Non-Contributory Pension: if you or your deceased spouse/civil partner does not have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for a non-contributory pension, provided you pass a means test.

For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to:

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Information for young people

I am a teenager. What are my options for meeting other teenagers and getting involved in the local community?

You should check your local community centre as this is where most youth and sports groups meet. You can also contact Foroige and Youth Work Ireland.

You could also take part in Gaisce - the President’s Award which is Ireland’s National Challenge Award. It is the country’s most prestigious and respected individual award programme and a challenge from the President of Ireland to young people between 15 and 25 years of age. For more information go to:

Head Office – Dublin
Gaisce – The President’s Award
Ratra House, North Road, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 6171999

Youth Work Ireland is a co-ordinating and development agency for Youth Services throughout the country, which seeks to give voice to the needs and aspirations of young people and to improve the quality of life for young people in the context of community based youth services:

National Youth Council of Ireland seeks to ensure that all young people are empowered to develop the skills and confidence to fully participate as active citizens in an inclusive society. It is the representative body for national voluntary youth work organisations in Ireland:

3 Montague Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 4784122

Dáil na nÓg is the National Youth Parliament of Ireland and gives young people the opportunity to represent, at a national level, the views of those under the voting age of 18.

Email: is an independent, youth-led national charity working to empower young people to create personal and social change:

Seán MacBride House, Parliament Row, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6753554

Teen-Line Ireland provides information and support for teenagers through their helpline and website:

Free Phone: 1800 833 634

ISPCC Teenfocus provides a comprehensive support service, including out of hours access, to teenagers aged 13-18 years who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties.

ISPCC Childfocus provides a comprehensive one to one support service (including out of hours access) to children aged 12 years or under who may be experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Phone: 01 6767960

Crosscare’s Young Adult Support Centre aims to deliver programmes that will enable young people return to and remain in education and training. These group and individual activities are run together with external counselling and family and peer support.

Telephone: 01 8301188

Crosscare’s Teen Counselling is an ‘adolescent friendly’ service whose aim is to enable young people and their parents or carers deal with difficulties, within the context of the family:

Telephone: 01 5574705

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights in Ireland

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 provides for civil registration of same-sex partnerships with a range of rights and duties. For more information check out GLEN's immigration information leaflet for same-sex couples

There are a number of organisations who represent the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Ireland:

outhouse is the resource and community centre for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities in Dublin:

105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8734999

GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) works to achieve full equality and inclusion for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in Ireland, and protection from all forms of discrimination:

Telephone: 01 6728650

BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23:

BeLonG To Youth Services
Parliament House, 13 Parliament Street, 1st/2nd Floor, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6706223

MarriagEquality is an initiative working for civil marriage for gay and lesbian people:

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Senior citizens

Senior Help Line is a confidential listening service for older people by older people for the price of a local call anywhere in Ireland.

Help Line: 1850 440 444

Home help services are sometimes provided to older people so they can continue living in their own home instead of going into long-term care. For more information contact your local public health nurse.

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Getting married in Ireland

I would like to get married in Ireland. What do I need to do?

You must notify the local Registrar of your marriage (three months before the intended date of the marriage) and provide the following documents:

  • Passport as ID
  • Birth Certificate
  • If either of you are divorced, original final decrees in respect of all previous divorces
  • If either of you are widowed, death certificate of the previous spouse and the civil marriage certificate for the first marriage
  • Your PPS numbers (if you have one)
  • Fee of €150

You will also need to provide the following information:

  • the intended date of marriage,
  • whether you require a civil or religious ceremony,
  • the names and dates of birth of your witnesses, and
  • details of the proposed solemniser and venue.

I am divorced. Can I still get married in Ireland?

Yes. However, either you or your former spouse must have been living in the country where your divorce was granted. If neither of you were, then you may need to get divorced in Ireland before you can remarry.

For more information on getting married in Ireland go to:

General Register Office
Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.
Telephone: 090 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076

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Separation and Divorce

The Legal Aid Board's Family Mediation Service is a free, professional and confidential service for couples, married and non-married, who have decided to separate or divorce and who together want to negotiate the terms of their separation or divorce. There are Family Mediation Centres throughout the country. For more information contact the Legal Aid Board:

How do I apply for a divorce in Ireland?

You must apply to the Circuit Family Court for a divorce decree which legally ends a marriage.

You must submit the following documents:

  • An application form called a Family Law Civil Bill
  • Form 37A which lists your income, assets and debts
  • Form 37B which provides information on your children
  • Form 37D which states that you have been advised of the alternatives to divorce.

The court will issue the divorce decree, if your marriage has broken down and you fulfill the following conditions:

  • You and your spouse have been living apart for four out of the previous five years before the application is made
  • There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation
  • Proper arrangements have been made or will be made for the spouse and any dependent members of the family.

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Family Law Courts

There are two courts which deal with family law issues – the District Family Court and the Circuit Family Court.

What does the District Family Court do?

The District Family Court deals with:

  • Domestic violence
  • Guardianship, custody and access to children
  • Passport applications for underage children where one guardian refuses to sign the form or their whereabouts is unknown
  • Blood tests to determine parentage
  • Guardianship for grandparents
  • Maintenance payments

You should contact your local District Family Law Office for more information:

What does the Circuit Family Court do?

The Circuit Family Court deals with:

  • Divorce
  • Judicial Separation
  • Relief following a foreign divorce or separation outside the jurisdiction
  • Nullity of a marriage
  • Declaration of Marital Status
  • Determination of property disputes
  • Declarations of parentage

You should contact your local Circuit Family Law Office for more information:

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Making a will

How do I make a legally valid will?

There are very strict guidelines for making a legally valid will. These are:

  • The person making the will must to over 18 years of age
  • The person must act of their own free will
  • The person must be of sound mind and memory and understand that they are making a will
  • The person must know the nature and extent of their property and be capable of recalling all of the people who will benefit from their estate
  • The will must be in writing
  • The will must be signed at the end by the person. If they cannot sign it then they must direct someone else to do so in their presence. The signature must be made in the presence of TWO witnesses who are both present at the same time
  • The witnesses must sign their signature in the presence of the person, but not necessarily in each other’s presence
  • A witness or their spouse cannot benefit under the will. If these formalities are not respected, the will may fail and, if so, the law in relation to intestacy (dying without a legally valid will) will then determine how your property is distributed.

Is it possible to write my own will?

Yes. However, due to the legal nature of writing a will you may like to consult a solicitor to do this for you. For more information see:

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Funeral arrangements

A member of my family has died. Where can I get information about funeral arrangements?

For general information and contact details for local funeral directors you should contact

Irish Association of Funeral Directors
Mespil Business Centre, Mespil House, Sussex Road, Dublin 4
Telephone: 1800 927 111

What are the traditions and customs related to death in Ireland?

The majority of Irish people are Catholic. Therefore, when someone dies there is a wake which usually takes place in the person’s home. People come to the house to pay their respects to the family. The body is then taken to the church for the removal service. The following morning the funeral mass is said and the body is taken to a cemetery for burial or crematorium for cremation.

People close to the family usually give a floral wreath which is placed on the grave after burial. Other people usually get a mass said for the deceased which is written in a mass card and given to the family. A month after the funeral there is a mass said for the deceased. It is called the Month’s Mind.

You can find individual funeral arrangements on:

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This page was updated on 20th March 2017

Supported by

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund
and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Dept of Justice & Equality & Pobal.