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European Health Insurance Card




When travelling abroad we should be prepared for all eventualities.

It is very important, if you are holidaying in another EU country, that you bring your European Health Insurance Card in case you or your family need to access medical care.

What is the European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to access public healthcare in another EU/EEA state for free or at a reduced rate. You can use it when you are travelling abroad or when you are staying temporarily in another EU State. It is recommended that you always carry your EHIC when you are abroad. An EHIC does not replace travel insurance.

How long does the card last?

It lasts for up to four years. At the end of that period you will need to renew your card. You can renew it online.

Can I get a European Health Insurance Card?

You can only apply for an European Health Insurance Card if you live in Ireland or if you live in another European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) Member State, or Switzerland. If you live in Ireland but you are linked to another EU/EEA State's Social Security System, contact the health authorities in that country for more information. If you live in Northern Ireland but are employed in Ireland, you can get an Irish-issued EHIC.

Does the card cover the whole family?

Each family member needs their own card. You can apply for the whole family on one application form.

Where can I use it?

You can use your European Health Insurance Card in any European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) country and in Switzerland. Currently, the EEA comprises the 27 Member States of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. As Andorra and Monaco are not part of the EU or EEA, your EHIC is not accepted there. Likewise, if you are travelling outside the EU/EEA. In both cases you should get private health insurance instead.

Does it apply in the UK?

If you are an Irish citizen, you have access to healthcare under the Common Travel Area while visiting the UK. However, other EU citizens should continue to use the EHIC, which is still accepted in the UK.

What does the EHIC cover?

It covers free or reduced cost public healthcare in any of the EU and EEA countries, a temporary stay of up to three months, pre-existing medical conditions, routine maternity care - as long as you’re not going there to give birth. If you’re a student studying abroad, you’ll be covered for up to an academic year.

It does not cover private healthcare, the cost to fly you back to Ireland, ongoing or permanent healthcare or medical expenses if your reason for going abroad is to have treatment.

Will I have to pay anything for healthcare with my EHIC?

In some EU Member States you may have to make some payment towards the cost of the services you receive, just as people in that State do. This is called a 'patient co-payment' or 'patient share'. You will not receive a refund for this or for private healthcare.

How can I get a refund from the HSE if I paid for healthcare while abroad?

You may be able to get a refund if you had to pay because you did not have your EHIC card with you or the healthcare providers charged you by mistake.

Apply for a refund by email. Send your receipts to The HSE will send an E126 form to the health authorities in the other State to find out if you used a public health service and how much of a refund is due. When the HSE receive the completed E126 form from the other State, the HSE can see if a refund is due to you or not.

What if I don't have my EHIC before I travel?

If you don't have your European Health Insurance Card for any reason, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate. This certificate gives you the same entitlement as the card, but for a shorter period. You can apply online for this certificate, in-person or by post to your Local Health Office. You can only receive a Temporary Replacement Certificate for yourself.

How much does a European Health Insurance Card cost?

There is no fee for the European Health Insurance Card or for a Temporary Replacement Certificate. Renewing a European Health Insurance Card is also free.

How do I apply?

You complete an application form and send it to your Local Health Office. You can download the form or pick one up from your local Citizens Information Centre. If you have a medical card or Drug Payment Scheme card, you can apply online.

If you already had an EHIC but it has expired, you can renew it online if you have your old EHIC number and your PPS number, provided that your address has not changed.

For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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