The Irish Mail on Sunday
After the Tunisia massacre, where is it safe to holiday?
My family and I are booking a summer holiday. After last week’s horror in Tunisia, how do we know where is safe to visit any more? We were thinking of Turkey yet is it not one of the countries flagged as potentially dangerous for tourists? If we have to cancel due to a possible terrorist attack, will we get our money back from the agent? And does holiday insurance cover this? Travel agents cancel holidays and provide refunds usually when the Department of Foreign Affairs or World Health Organisation advises against all non-essential travel to a particular country. The DFA does advise ‘caution’ while visiting Turkey. It also explains that it is the border regions with Iraq and Syria, far from most tourist resorts, that are most risky. This category of warning is not usually sufficient grounds for getting your money back if you cancel. But maybe it’s something you should heed before booking your holiday. You can get more information and keep an eye on the status of potential holiday destinations through the DFA website: www.dfa.ie. Here are some examples: Caution: Turkey, France, Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. Extreme caution: Algeria, Tunisia. Do not travel unless necessary: Egypt (with the exception of certain resorts) Do not travel at all: Libya As regards travel insurance, check the small print on your policy. You will probably be disappointed with the extent of the cover. Most policies exclude acts of terrorism altogether. There is cover for having to cancel your holiday in strictly limited circumstances These include: falling ill, having your home burgled or the death of a close relative. Being quarantined, made redundant, or called up for jury service are also commonly covered.
However, cancellation because you no longer feel safe is generally not included in the list. In fact, most policies specifically exclude any payouts if you travel to countries that have been declared unsafe, which makes it even more important to keep an eye on the DFA website. I received a bill for broadband from Three for €165.26. My bill had never gone above €14.04 before. I have asked for details of websites accessed but under data protection rules, they say they cannot tell me. They have offered as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to reduce the bill by 50% but I am not happy with this. Have any other readers received an incorrect bill, during the March-April 2015 period? I contacted Three and Comreg on your behalf. Three insisted that the charges were correctly applied. Comreg pointed out that while you can get details of the time of data usage, you can’t get info about the websites accessed. This seems ridiculous but it is the data protection rule. It seems like there is a gap in consumer protection here when people cannot get to the bottom of an unexplained bill. Any readers with a similar experience should contact us at the
email address below. My wife and I get Partial Capacity Benefit as I can only work 15 hours a week at most due to health problems. My PCB for both of us is €218.80 plus take-home pay of €160.50 at best. Some weeks I only work 10 hours and if I get sick I may only work five hours. But there is no increase in PCB even if I work the smallest amount of hours. We simply cannot make ends meet. Is there anyone who can help us? The Supplementary Welfare Allowance is aimed at people whose incomes sometimes drop too low. The maximum personal rate for SWA is €186 and the maximum increase for a Qualified Adult is €124.80. There is also a range of supports provided under the SWA scheme including supplements and exceptional needs. It is generally available through your local Intreo office. You should also contact your local MABS. They will help you find your way through the social welfare maze.