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.
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:
More information on the Child and Family Agency can be found at www.tusla.ie
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.
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.
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: www.childrensrights.ie
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: www.oco.ie
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: www.childline.ie
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: www.barnardos.ie
National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8
Telephone: 01 4530355
Callsave: 1850 222 300
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 www.immunisation.ie
If you have any questions about vaccinations you should contact your GP or your local health centre.
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: www.breastfeeding.ie
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:
There are different options for childcare in Ireland:
You can also bring your child to:
The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free years of childhood care and education for children between the ages of 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months.
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: www.dcya.gov.ie
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: www.childminding.ie
Early Childhood Ireland is the largest voluntary organisation working for young children and their families in Ireland: www.earlychildhoodireland.ie
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: www.nvcc.ie
Cuidiú (caring support in Irish) is a voluntary parent-to-parent support group who offer support services in three areas:
There are branches throughout the country: www.cuidiu-ict.ie
Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8724501
Irish Montessori Education Board provides accreditation for Montessori schools in Ireland: www.imebtrust.org
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: www.khf.ie
Parentline provides a confidential helpline for parents and guardians: www.parentline.ie
Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8787230
Helpline: 1890 927 277
www.rollercoaster.ie provides information on parenting, pregnancy and childcare.
www.schooldays.ie is an online resource for parents and teachers.
www.mykidstime.ie - 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: www.parentsplus.ie
15 St. Vincent Street North
Telephone: 01 830 7984
For information and support on family life contact:
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: www.treoir.ie
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: www.onefamily.ie
Cherish House, 2 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6629212
askonefamily Lo-call info line: 1890 66 22 12
Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax-free payment for low paid working families.
You may qualify if you:
The following count as family income:
The following do not count as family income:
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 Social and Family Affairs to claim a higher rate of payment.
You can apply for FIS as soon as you start work.
You need to complete Form FIS1 and send it to the Family Income Supplement Section:
Social Welfare Services
Lo-Call 1890 92 77 70
You will need to provide the following documents:
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 Social and Family Affairs: www.welfare.ie
In Ireland, Child Benefit is payable to the parents or guardians of qualified children normally living with you and being supported by you.
A qualified child is:
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:
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:
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. The scheme operates from June 1st to September 30th each year.
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.
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.
You will qualify for a payment if you:
The following conditions also apply:
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.
To apply for One-Parent Family Payment, complete Form OPF1 and send it to your local social welfare office.
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.
There are two types of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions:
For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to: www.welfare.ie
For more information contact your local social welfare office or go to: www.welfare.ie
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: www.gaisce.ie
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: www.youthworkireland.ie
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: www.youth.ie
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.
SpunOut.ie is an independent, youth-led national charity working to empower young people to create personal and social change: www.spunout.ie
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: www.teenline.ie
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: www.teencounselling.ie
Telephone: 01 5574705
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: www.outhouse.ie
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: www.glen.ie
Telephone: 01 6728650
BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23: www.belongto.org
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: www.marriagequality.ie
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.
You must notify the local Registrar of your marriage (three months before the intended date of the marriage) and provide the following documents:
You will also need to provide the following information:
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: www.groireland.ie
General Register Office
Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.
Telephone: 090 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076
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: www.legalaidboard.ie
You must apply to the Circuit Family Court for a divorce decree which legally ends a marriage.
You must submit the following documents:
The court will issue the divorce decree, if your marriage has broken down and you fulfill the following conditions:
There are two courts which deal with family law issues – the District Family Court and the Circuit Family Court.
The District Family Court deals with:
You should contact your local District Family Law Office for more information: www.courts.ie
The Circuit Family Court deals with:
You should contact your local Circuit Family Law Office for more information: www.courts.ie
There are very strict guidelines for making a legally valid will. These are:
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: www.flac.ie
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
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: www.rip.ie
This page was updated on 20th March 2017
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.