President Michael D Higgins signs the Birth Information and Tracing Bill into Law

President Michael D Higgins signs the Birth Information and Tracing Bill into Law

The long-awaited Birth Information and Tracing Bill has been signed into law by President Michael D Higgins.

The bill, which will enable adopted people, those who were boarded out, those who had their birth illegally registered, as well as people who have questions regarding their origins to access their information, representing landmark legislation that has been welcomed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI).

Free Counselling and Support Services

In addition to the establishment of the new law, it will be accompanied by a wide range of measures to address issues arising for people affected by illegal birth registration. Such services will include a Contact Preference Register, operated by the AAI, as well as an extensive scope of free counselling and support services for those who have been affected by the issues that the bill addresses.

To promote awareness of the new law and services provided, a public information campaign has been launched that will include delivery of an information booklet to every household in Ireland. The campaign, which will run for three months, will also engage with Ireland’s embassy network around the world to reach those who live abroad and are affected by the legislation.

As of the bill’s signing on Friday, 1st July, applications can be submitted to the Contact Preference Register by those wishing to make contact, to request privacy, or to seek or share information with a relative. Both information and tracing services under the legislation will open in October of this year.

Determination to Support People

Speaking of the impact that the new bill would have for those who have been affected, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said that there is a determination to support people to answer questions that remain unanswered to date.

“In October, when all affected persons will be able to avail of these new provisions that will allow unfettered access to their birth information, we will be able to see the positive and hugely significant impact of this legislation,” he said.


*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Tips Bill amendment to ban service charges unless it goes to staff.

Tips Bill amendment to ban service charges unless it goes to staff.

The government is set to introduce new legislation that will ban the hospitality industry from implementing service charges on bills unless the charge goes directly to the staff.

Tips Bill

The amendment to the Payments of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Bill 2022, more commonly referred to as the ‘Tips Bill’, will be put forward in the Seanad by Damien English of Fine Gael, Junior Minister for Business, Employment and Retail.

Under the terms of the amendment, which the government hopes to approve prior to the summer recess, bars and restaurants will be banned from including mandatory service charges if they are not treated in the same way as tips and gratuities are for wait staff and servers. The new law will also state that any additional charges included on a bill or receipt that are not going to these workers are to be stated clearly to paying customers for their reference.

Speaking about the amendments to the bill, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “Our overall objective with the Bill is to prevent employers from using tips or gratuities to make up basic wages and to introduce transparency about how tips and service charges are distributed.”

Must be Explicit About Additional Charges

The Tánaiste went on to add: “I’m happy we’ve been able to come up with a solution now, which will effectively ban employers from using the term ‘service charge’ or any similar term, unless the money goes straight to staff. Employers must be explicit about any additional charge and where it goes, once this new law comes into force.”

The Restaurants Association of Ireland responded positively to news of the new law, stating that it would provide transparency for consumers and employees of all sectors in which tips, gratuities and service charges, and other additional charges are applied.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

10 Top Tips when selling your home

10 Top Tips when selling your home

Almost everyone makes at least one mistake when they’re selling their home.

Some make small mistakes and correct them quickly, some ignore professional advice and lose the sale of their home as a result.

To help you avoid them, here are the 10 most common mistakes made by home owners.

1 They appoint the wrong estate agent 

When selling your home, you should get the person who will be the best for the job, not the one you know best.

With estate agencies you need to choose between one of the big networks or a small operator. The latter can work out well in their own back yard because they know the ground, the homes and the people. They are also likely to give you more of their personal time and attention.

But as in any business, there are good and bad. Don’t move the competent small guy you play tennis with out of the locale he or she excels in and dump them into yours where they know nothing.

Large networks offer the benefit of nationwide exposure. Through economies of scale on marketing, they can get your home under everybody’s nose. The problem comes when they appoint an inexperienced youngster to sell your property. The best case for hiring a larger network is where they have swallowed up the business of, or hired, a local operator with local smarts.

2 They appoint their agent based on the lowest fee 

Irish people tend to think houses sell themselves and so go for the lowest fee.

For example: John sold his first home where were three similar properties on offer on the road. He paid twice as much in fees than all the rest to have the right agent.

Two of the other properties were sold by chancers flying under a convenience brand that wasn’t too fussy about experience and qualifications. They were in aluminium sales one week and home sales the next. Those houses sold at over 10pc less than Johns. The vendors paid less to lose more. Conversely, a higher fee should reflect a solid and recognised brand with a big reputation and a rock hard sales record.

3 They leave dirt and smells

The number one killer of homes sales is dirt and nasty lingering smells. When it comes to couples, women buy houses. The male part of the equation may have power of veto, but she picks out the house that they will end up buying.

Agents will tell you that women will walk away from dirt and smells even though the house just needs a deep clean. Odours the owner has acclimatised to in carpets, curtains and kitchens can cost tens of thousands in this market. A stripped out but clean and odourless home will sell better than a smelly furnished one. New paint provides a fresh clean whiff associated with new homes.

4 They don’t declutter

By ‘clutter’ we mean your day to day stuff, aside from relevant furniture. Books, clothes, magazines, delph, wellies, umbrellas, coats all makes the house look smaller and congested, even though you don’t think so. It’s about what others think.

Hire some storage. Ship out everything. Agents advise thinking about what you’d find in a hotel. No more than that.

5 They don’t neutralise and depersonalise 

When someone walks into a house and sees masses of photos of graduations, weddings and communions everywhere, it brings home to them that this is very much someone else’s home. It diminishes their ability to imagine it as theirs. So get all the family pics out.

You might love that purple wall and how it works great with the black ceiling. But selling a house is about appealing to the widest audience. You’ll hate to do it, but get the magnolia in.

6 They don’t make themselves scarce 

While most vendors are sensible enough to remove themselves from their homes before viewers come to inspect it, some people stupidly insist on stay in situ.

Their presence, even in another room, intimidates viewers who feel they are invading someone else’s privacy.

7 They don’t really want to sell

The bane of estate agents and home hunters alike is the idiot vendor who hasn’t thought it through.

Agents could retire if they had a penny for every time they heard this after four months with a sign up: “Do you know what? When I really thought about it, I realised all my friends live around here, and my family is near, and I realised how much I love this house. So why would I ever sell?”

So, DO “really think about it” before you think about putting up a sign.

8 They know better than their agent

We wouldn’t think twice about over-ruling our dentist (no actually I think that abscess will go away by itself) nor our accountant (well I know someone who didn’t pay that tax and nothing happened to them).

But for some reason, Irish people think they know everything about property because they live in a house or bought/sold one.

And the biggie is over-ruling their agent’s advice is on price. Because everyone thinks their home is worth more than it is. “Oh no, that’s way too low. Sure didn’t we spend €100,000 on that extension alone.”

Estate agents know what they’re doing when establishing the asking price. It means absolutely nothing more than an opening position from which to coax bids.

Almost no one achieves their asking price. So the asking prices you’ve seen for similar properties in your neighbourhood also don’t indicate true value. They can ask and ask and ask. It’s about what they get.

The agent might hope to get €700k for a home, but put it on the market for €625k because in the current rising market buyers will look at €700k and think “that’s going to go for €750k.”

But how high or low you open is crucial. So go with your agent’s advice. If you know better, sell it yourself.

9 They’re also trying to buy a home at the same time as they’re selling

You’re fooling nobody and in this market you will become unstuck. No one wants to buy a home from someone who only transacts on the basis that they can nail a good deal themselves.

10 Pure greed

“If we’re already at €40k over the asking price, why not just hold out…”

This speaks for itself and it’s the biggest vendor vice of all.

Always speak with a professional when buying or selling your home

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Payout of €4 Million for Disabled Teenager Over Circumstances of Birth

Payout of €4 Million for Disabled Teenager Over Circumstances of Birth

The mother of a disabled teenager has said that Ireland “is no country to have a disabled child” in after securing an interim High Court settlement over the circumstances of her son’s birth.

Through his mother, the teenager was suing the HSE over the care and treatment of his birth at Portiuncula Hospital in Galway in 2005. It was alleged by the complainant that his mother’s labour while at the hospital was incompetently managed, and that there had been a failure to intervene and proceed in performing a Caesarean section that led to an unnecessarily prolonged period of birth asphyxia for the baby.

Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy

As a result of the asphyxia, it was claimed the complaint later developed hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage that occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen or blood flow for a sustained period of time.

Counsel for the complainant argued that, during delivery, the baby had been gasping for oxygen and inhaled meconium, a toxic substance. They went on to say that the mother had thought her baby was dead as he looked flat and grey once delivered.

The court heard how the complainant now requires constant supervision and has significant needs, which led his mother to take a five-year career break following his birth in 2005. Because of this, she was only able to return to work in 2010 on a part-time basis.

Throughout his life, the complainant has required various special treatments, and to this day remains under the care of numerous specialists that provide ongoing and substantial services.

Son not reaching crucial developmental milestones

Speaking with emotion about her son and his condition, his mother told the court how “Ireland is no country to have a disabled child” in, having to fight for even the most basic of essentials for her son who has autism, ADHD, cognitive delay and behavioural issues. She went on to say that circumstances could not have been made for difficult for the family, and that she knew her son was not reaching crucial developmental milestones.

“I feel so sorry for anybody who has a disabled child in this country”, she said.

A settlement of €4 million, which was without an admission of liability from the HSE, represents an interim payout for the next five years. In approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey noted that it was a very sad case and praised the boy’s parents for what they have done for their son thus far.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

High Court action for €70,000 settled for playground accident

High Court action for €70,000 settled for playground accident

The High Court heard how the girl, who was four years old at the time of the incident and accompanied by her father, had been playing at her local playground September 5, 2018 in Dublin. While running towards one of the slides in the playground, it was claimed that the child tripped on a black rubber mesh mat that was allegedly protruding from a grassy area.

Upon tripping, it was alleged that the girl hit her head against the edges of the slide, sustaining a burst laceration to the left side of her forehead. She was then taken to hospital where the laceration was repaired under general anaesthetic.

As a result of her injury, the girl, who is now seven, has been left with a 4cm scar over her eyebrow. Although medical reports indicate that the scar is permanent in nature, it is expected that the visibility of the scar will fade over time and they settled her High Court action for €70,000.

Playground Regularly Inspected

Hearing the case, Mr Justice Garrett Simons noted that liability was at issue, and that Dublin City Council had contended an unknown third party had interfered with the playground mat. Dublin City Council further stated the playground was regularly inspected, which the judge said was proven by documents which came to light during the discovery process of the case. With that in mind, Judge Simons said the crucial fact was that there was a risk in relation to liability of the case.

In approving the settlement amount of €70,000, Judge Simons informed the girl’s mother that “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush”. He further noted that he had the benefit of three medical reports, and also inspected the scar which he said was “just about noticeable”. Despite this, he commented that the girl appeared to be handling it very well.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*