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Over 800 Irish people were caught up in major crises abroad in 2015

The Department of Foreign Affairs has released its annual report for 2015, which also highlights an increase in passports issued.

Belgian police officers patrol the Grand Place in central Brussels, Belgium, in November 2015. The country was on high alert after the Paris attack.
Belgian police officers patrol the Grand Place in central Brussels, Belgium, in November 2015. The country was on high alert after the Paris attack.
Image: Michael Probst AP/Press Association Images

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs helped over 800 Irish people who became caught up in seven major crises in 2015.

The department’s emergency response team help Irish citizens caught up in the terrorist attacks in Paris, earthquakes in Nepal, the Germanwings air crash, the Berkeley balcony tragedy and the June terrorist attack in Tunisia, among other crises.

The figures are included in the department’s annual report for 2015.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The department and Ireland’s diplomatic missions provided a range of consular services to over 60,000 Irish people and businesses and almost 1,600 people who were involved in serious consular situations;
  • The department issued 672,769 passports in 2015, up 6.4% on 2014;
  • 13,358 people applied for the new Irish Passport Card launched last October;
  • Ireland’s diplomatic missions abroad organised or hosted almost 400 St Patrick’s Day events;
  • Irish exports, tourism, education and inward investment were promoted during government-level visits to 70 cities in 26 countries;
  • The government provided almost €650 million in official development assistance to some of the world’s poorest nations;
  • Ireland’s humanitarian rapid response initiative helped victims of flooding in Malawi and earthquakes in Nepal, as well as refugees from Syria, South Sudan and Nigeria;
  • Visitors to the department’s websites increased by over 40% – from 4.1 million in 2014 to 5.8 million during 2015.

5/10/2015 New Passport Cards Minister Flanagan launching the Passport Card in 2015 Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Commenting on the Report’s publication, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said his department “was directly engaged in the separate visits made to Ireland by the prime ministers of China and India and by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the launch of the new Irish Passport Card, the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s UN membership, the Global Irish Civic Forum and Global Irish Economic Forum and the Fresh Start Agreement in Northern Ireland”.

We also helped to promote 2015 as the Year of Irish Design, brokered agreement on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, convened an Irish Humanitarian Summit, completed Ireland’s first term on the UN Human Rights Council and made an important contribution towards helping to end the Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone.

“By any measure these and other areas of our work as outlined in the Report were significant achievements. I am grateful to all the staff of the Department and in our diplomatic missions abroad for their dedication and public service.”

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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