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Financial assistance available for Irish citizens struggling to afford commercial flights home, says Coveney

Ireland is undertaking the ‘biggest repatriation effort in the history of the state’ said the Tánaiste.

Simon Coveney said the number of Irish citizens returning home will likely fall, but the cases will probably be a lot more complex.
Simon Coveney said the number of Irish citizens returning home will likely fall, but the cases will probably be a lot more complex.
Image: Shutterstock/muratart

IRELAND IS UNDERTAKING the “biggest repatriation effort in the history of the state”, according to Tánaiste Simon Coveney. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke today, he said the Department of Foreign Affairs has helped around 4,600 Irish people to come home. 

A total of 500 people returned on chartered flights organised by other countries, such as the UK, while 200 arrived home after the Irish government organised two chartered flights from Peru and Goa, India last week. 

Irish citizens who were visiting Peru became stranded after it announced it was shutting all air, land and sea borders.

The Department of Foreign Affairs arranged a charter flight from Lima, Peru to London with British Airways; Aer Lingus agreed to the second leg from London to Dublin.

The department call centre has taken over 16,000 calls, said Coveney.

Australia and New Zealand 

He said there are still some Irish people who are finding it difficult to return from New Zealand and Australia, however, he said the government is working with Qatar Airways and Qantas Airlines, block booking seats for Irish passengers. 

He said other citizens are stuck in South Africa, Vietnam and India. 

Coveney said the situation changes each day, but the government is working to help get people home.

He said a financial package is now available for the department to help charter flights, as well as to give financial assistance to citizens who “may have run out of money” and can’t afford the skyrocketing prices for commercial flights home. 

The Tánaiste said the department is also working with Irish-American community groups in the US to provide supports for the undocumented Irish in the US. 

He said some of the undocumented in America will not be entitled to welfare or health supports, therefore the Irish government is ensuring that some community groups are the finance behind them to provide assistance to Irish citizens when needed. 

Ireland has a huge diaspora, said Coveney, adding that work is ongoing to ensure that Irish citizens abroad are getting the help they need. 

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