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No reports of Irish injured in Brussels attacks

Irish people travelling to Belgium have been told to exercise caution.

Belgium Attacks Police and rescue teams are pictured outside the metro station Maalbeek in Brussels AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

IT IS BELIEVED that there were no Irish citizens injured or killed in today’s attacks in Belgium.

Caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil:

I understand from the ambassador in Brussels that as far as we are aware no Irish citizen has been involved here with tragic circumstances, but one can’t be certain yet as to the full impact of what has happened.

The government said in a statement that garda authorities and the Department of Foreign Affairs are liaising with the relevant authorities in Brussels and other international partners in the light of these attacks.

It also said:

While it remains the case that there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism we cannot consider that we are immune from the threat. It remains the case that an attack here is assessed as possible but not likely.
The level of threat is kept under constant review by An Garda Síochána and all appropriate measures will continue to be taken by the authorities here.  For obvious security reasons, we could not go into the details of the operational responses.  All the agencies here co-operate closely in respect of any threats that are identified.
The activities of a small number of people based here and whose behaviour may be of concern will continue to be monitored closely.

It added that this is “an international problem” and An Garda Síochána “co-operates very closely with its EU and other international security and intelligence counterparts on an ongoing basis in responding to these threats”.

In a statement this afternoon, Minister Charlie Flanagan said:

Our immediate concern, of course, is for the welfare of Irish citizens in Brussels. At this point, there are no reports of any Irish citizens having been injured. However, the situation is very fluid and information is still emerging. The Irish Embassy in Brussels is actively liaising with the Belgian authorities as they work to identify those who were affected by these attacks.

The Dáil observed a minute’s silence in response to the attack this morning.

“I echo the words of the Taoiseach in saying that Ireland stands with the people of Belgium against terrorism,” said Flanagan, who briefed Cabinet this morning on the emerging situation.

He said that Ministers “are working closely together as we deal with the fall-out from this heinous attack, as are our officials across government here and in Belgium”.

The Irish Ambassador to Belgium, Mr Eamonn Mac Aodha, is monitoring the situation on the ground and is in touch with the relevant authorities, including the Belgian National Emergency Centre.

He is providing Minister Flanagan with regular updates on the situation.

Ambassador Mac Aodha has informed me that the large number of Irish staff working at the Permanent Representation, the Embassy and the various State agencies, and their loved ones, are all accounted for.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s consular division has been active since reports of the blasts emerged at 7am today, and is responding to calls from the public.

The Department said that it has increased its security setting for Belgium and is advising people to exercise “extreme caution”.

It has updated its travel advisory page and says:

We advise you to exercise extreme caution if in Belgium at this time and to follow the instructions of local authorities.

LIVEBLOG: At least 26 feared dead in Brussels airport and Metro attacks>

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