THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT has issued a warning to its citizens travelling to Ireland ahead of this month’s anniversary of the Easter Rising.
Travel guidelines published on the Australian government’s safe travel website, last updated on Monday, warn potential travellers that tensions have increased “between dissident republicans and unionists” on the run up to the centenary.
Although the official State-commemoration took place last month at Easter, the chronological anniversary will take place on the 24 to 29 April.
“Tensions between dissident republicans and unionists have increased in the lead up to the centenary of the Easter Rising (24-29 April – Proclamation of Irish independence),” the guidelines read.
You should avoid all protests and demonstrations, including those associated with Northern Ireland, as they may turn violent.
Instances of civil disorder can rapidly escalate into violence and you should avoid them wherever possible, including through careful monitoring of the media and following the advice of local authorities.
No significant sectarian demonstrations were evident on the run up to or during the State commemorations last month. There have been no significant demonstrations thus far in the run up to the chronological anniversary.
The travel guidelines for Ireland remain on the lower end of seriousness. People are told to “exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia”.
“Ireland has a moderate incidence of serious, violent crime. Secluded parks and unlit areas should be avoided,” the guidelines read.
Petty crime, including bag snatching, smash and grab from cars and public transport, and pickpocketing is common, particularly in city centres and areas frequented by tourists.
Travellers are also warned that “car theft and break-ins are increasing”.
The advice of avoiding demonstrations in Ireland is echoed on the United States’ travel website.
While not mentioning the centenary commemorations, in similar guidelines for both Ireland and the United Kingdom travellers are advised to avoid demonstrations.
“We remind you that even demonstrations and protests intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence,” the guidelines warn.
You should avoid the areas of such gatherings if possible, and be careful within the vicinity of any demonstrations.
When contacted by TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said that Ireland was a “very safe destination” to visit.
“When compared to the number of tourists entering the country, Ireland is a very safe destination and the rate of crime against tourists is quite low,” the spokesperson said.
Research has shown that the vast majority of our overseas visitors are more than happy to subsequently recommend Ireland as a holiday destination.