develop_region: 
Unknown
iso2: 
IE
iso3: 
IRL
Continent: 
Europe
Official name: 
Ireland

What can Dublin housing experts learn from Vienna where two-thirds of the city’s inhabitants live in public housing was the question being asked at the launch of the exhibition, The Vienna Model – Housing for the 21st Century in CHQ Dublin docklands. The exhibition shows how Vienna – often ranked first in international quality of living scales – has developed a cost-rental housing model [the price tenants pay is based on construction and maintenance costs, not market rent] in well designed, adaptable and inclusive neighbourhoods.

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Several weekly payments will increase by €5 a week over the coming days - after the changes were announced in last October's Budget. 637,340 pensioners aged 66 and over will see their maximum personal rate of pension rise by €5 per week from the week starting Monday March 25 - for themselves and 72,640 dependants. And there will be a €5 increase for 684,700 weekly welfare recipients - including carers, widows, people with disabilities, lone parents, jobseekers, Maternity and Paternity Benefit recipients, Farm Assist recipients and Community Employment participants.

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The UK and Irish Governments have guaranteed the continued payment of pensions, child benefit and other social welfare payments if the UK crashes out of the EU.

Thousands of people living in the Republic get pensions and other payments from Britain, while Dublin also pays out the like of widow's pensions to people who live in the UK.

Now a legally binding agreement has been signed by London and Dublin.

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Access to social welfare payments for Irish citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens in Ireland, will be “guaranteed” after Britain exits the European Union under a new legally binding agreement signed between the two governments.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty is expected to bring a motion to the Dáil next Tuesday to begin the process of ratifying the agreement.

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Social welfare recipients will continue to collect their payments from post offices this year. An Post has renewed the contract to provide €51m in social welfare payments until the end of 2019.

Child Benefit and Pensions will continue to be paid through the post office network for the next 12 months under the deal.The Department of Social Protection makes around 79 million social welfare payments every year - 30 million of them are paid in cash through the post office network.

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The Department of  Social Protection is owed €475.4 million from approximately 156,000 individual debts relating to the overpayment of social welfare payments. 

Minister Regina Doherty revealed the figures earlier this month following a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea.

She said that every effort is made by the department to recover monies owed. 

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Over 55,000 state pensioners are set to get a hike in their payments in the wake of a “bonkers” budget cut early next year. Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty confirmed that her department has written to 79,000 people affected by cuts that had a major impact on women who opted out of the workforce. Around 8,000 individuals living outside the state will receive letters next week. She said about 70pc of these people will get increases and she expects the payments to have been made by the end of March next year.

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Irish parents will be able to take an entire year off to look after their newborn in light of plans to extend parental benefit, it has been reported. Both parents will receive seven weeks of paid leave each by 2021. This combined with existing maternity and paternity entitlements and normal annual leave will give couples enough time for one of them to be at home at all times for an entire year, the Irish Independent reports. Parents will be able to avail of paid parental leave which will be tolled out in 2019 where both parents will be entitled to two weeks off.

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Ireland’s Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has awarded a €383,000 (US$447,00) contract to Gemalto for an upgrade of its facial verification system. The department has used its existing facial biometrics system to identify 28 cases of identity fraud so far in 2018, and has saved the government more than €4 million ($4.67 million) since the system’s launch in 2012.

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