Tuesday 27 September 2016

'We spent a third of our life savings in months'

Jane O'Faherty

Published 27/08/2016 | 02:30

John and Brenda Hannon with their children Aoibheann (2) and Síomha (four months) at their home in Galway. Photo: Hany Marzouk
John and Brenda Hannon with their children Aoibheann (2) and Síomha (four months) at their home in Galway. Photo: Hany Marzouk

John and Brenda Hannon returned home from five years in Perth, Australia, with a baby girl, another on the way and hope for a new future in Ireland.

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But the cost of their move back to Corofin, Co Galway, last December made everything a little less smooth.

"About one-third of our savings were gone in two months," Brenda told the Irish Independent.

Applying for car insurance, healthcare and even getting an internet connection proved challenging as the family readjusted to life in Ireland.

"We had been warned the car insurance would be a massive issue at the start," Brenda said. Both John and Brenda had no claims bonuses in Australia, but they were not recognised by Irish providers.

"Our first quote for car insurance was €3,000. We managed to get that down to €1,600," she added.

Getting private health insurance was no easy task either, with Brenda's previous Irish provider refusing to recognise that she had been a customer before leaving the country.

"Even getting set up with internet was hard," she added. "It took nearly two months before we were fully connected."

Meanwhile, Brenda and John are self-employed, which had implications on their welfare entitlements on their return home.

As for ensuring they could reside in Ireland, Brenda said: "It was like being a foreign national."

"I had to prove that I was Irish," she said. "I was asked to name all the people I knew who were Irish citizens."

She was then asked to provide the PPS numbers of those she named as well. Brenda and John, who both born in Sligo, moved to Australia in 2010. They intended to travel for only a year, but the economic crash in Ireland convinced the couple to stay longer.

It was only when they had their first child, Aoibheann (2), that they decided to return home.

Irish Independent

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