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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with the Cost of Living




Prices have risen this year and you may be struggling to pay for the everyday things you need to support yourself and your family.

The Government announced some new Cost of Living supports on February 21.

People getting social welfare payments

In April 2023, if you are getting the Working Family Payment or any weekly long-term social welfare payment that qualifies for the Christmas Bonus, you will get a once-off payment of €200. Long term payments include State Pensions, Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit, Farm Assist, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension and One-Parent Family payments.

You will only get one €200 payment even if you get more than one qualifying social welfare payment. In June 2023, you will get an extra €100 for each child with your monthly Child Benefit payment. Child Benefit is paid to parents or guardians of children under 16 years. You may also get it, if your child is aged 16 or 17 years in full-time education or full-time training or has a disability and cannot support themselves

State exam fees

If you have a child taking the Leaving Certificate or Junior Cycle examination, there will be no exam fees in 2023.

School transport

If your child uses the School Transport Scheme, the fee for the school year 2023-2024 will be reduced to €50 for a primary school child and €75 for a secondary school child. The maximum fee for a family will be €125.
The scheme provides transport for children who live over a certain distance from the appropriate school. Even if your child meets the criteria for school transport, a place is not guaranteed.

Help for business owners

If you are a business owner, you will have easier access to the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) to help with businesses energy costs. Your business will qualify if it has had a 50% increase in electricity or gas costs (up from 30% increase). The amount you get back will increase to 50% of the cost of eligible electricity and gas bills (up from 40%).
The Scheme is extended to May 31.

VAT will remain at the 9% reduced rate until August 31, 2023 for hospitality services, and until October 31, 2023 for gas and electricity. Read more about help with the cost of living on

Additional Needs Payment

The Additional Needs Payment can help you with an expense that you cannot pay from your weekly income. The amount that you can get depends on your circumstances and the type of help you need. You can get the Additional Needs Payment for:

An increase in your fuel or electricity costs
Essential repairs to property, including motor vehicles and replacing household appliances and furniture
Funeral costs
Deposits for private rented accommodation
Bedding and cooking utensils, if you are setting up home for the first time
Food, clothing and shelter after an emergency event such as a fire or flood
Recurring travel costs to hospital
Visiting a relative in hospital or prison

This is not a complete list, other expenses can be covered too.

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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