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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.

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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