Minister Martin urges Irish citizens to be safe when travelling abroad in 2011
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., today urged Irish citizens planning trips abroad in 2011 to obtain comprehensive travel insurance, including medical insurance and also to exercise caution and take sensible precautions while overseas. Overseas medical and hospital costs can be very high and failure to take out adequate insurance or lack of awareness of the specific conditions within insurance policies, can lead to considerable financial and logistical difficulties for travellers and their families should problems arise.
While stressing the need for Irish citizens to take personal responsibility for their well being Minister Martin also reiterated that the vast majority visits are abroad are trouble-free.
Minister Martin said that the Department of Foreign Affairs dealt with many requests for consular assistance in 2010 and its network of Embassies and Consulates were very busy in responding to consular emergencies:
“In 2010, my Department dealt with more than 1,310 serious consular emergencies (2009 total: 1,350) including deaths, arrests, accidents and hospitalisations. Included in that figure is the assistance provided to the families of 204 people who died abroad (2009 total: 240). I would like to take this opportunity to extend my personal condolences to the families who suffered these bereavements, often in tragic circumstances.
My Department also dealt with over 293 arrest cases in 2010 (2009 total: 319) and in addition provided all possible consular assistance following the earthquake in Haiti and the Volcanic Ash Crisis, which resulted in widespread transport disruption affecting thousands of Irish citizens throughout Europe.
The Department’s statistics show a great number of Irish citizens are finding themselves in distressing situations while abroad, and travelling to ever more exotic and unusual destinations. The Department’s website provides country specific travel advice on www.dfa.ie. This website provides up to date and comprehensive travel advice on individual countries based on the best information available from our Missions for Irish citizens intending to travel overseas. The Department also takes into account the advice issued by other Member States of the European Union.
There is also a facility on the website for Irish citizens to register their travel details which enables our consular officials to contact them or their next of kin in case of a consular emergency.
When travelling abroad it is always useful to make a note of the contact details of the nearest Irish Mission/Embassy in the country they are visiting on www.dfa.ie and that in countries where Ireland has no resident Mission, in times of emergency, they can seek consular assistance from any EU Mission in that country.
I encourage Irish citizens to respect local laws and customs, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and be aware that the use of drugs can and does result in death—at the very least, purchase or possession of drugs can result in arrest and long terms of imprisonment, sometimes in dangerous locations in distant countries.
Finally, I would like to wish all Irish citizens travelling overseas in 2011 safe and enjoyable trips and I strongly recommend that their travel insurance adequately cover all their travel options.”Top