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Irish embassies provided help to 344 citizens arrested abroad during a busy 2018

Consular assistance was provided to Irish citizens in a range of circumstances this year.

The Irish Embassy in Washington DC.
The Irish Embassy in Washington DC.
Image: Shutterstock

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs assisted 2,300 Irish citizens abroad in 2018 with issues ranging from imprisonment to the death of a loved one.

A report from the department on the work of its missions abroad has shown how increased foreign travel has led to a consistent demand for help from Irish embassies.

Overall, the number of cases dealt with this year was down on 2016 and 2017 when officials dealt with 2,740 and 2,597 cases respectively.

The figures are across the 80 Irish embassies and consulates across the world and the 94 honorary consuls in 60 countries.

Irish missions abroad can provide consular assistance in a wide variety of ways, including help with travel documents, providing travel or language advice or help in grave situations, such as natural disasters, terror attacks or if a citizen is the victim of a crime.

Irish missions do not however provide legal or medical advice and do not have a budget to help citizens with such expenses.

Even if they cannot provide formal advice in such circumstances, assistance in cases of arrest or medical issues are among the most frequent dealt with by Irish consulates and embassies this year.

In figures up until the end of November, consular assistance was provided to 344 Irish citizens in cases of arrest and 318 in medical cases.

The death of Irish citizens abroad is also frequently cause for the involvement of Irish embassies and this year 271 families required the services assistance of officials in such circumstances.

Irish citizens also received assistance following a number of major overseas incidents this year including wildfires in California, Greece and Portugal, earthquakes in Indonesia, and terrorist attacks in Strasbourg and Toronto.

Commenting on the work of Irish missions in 2018, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said that the “volume and complexity” of cases dealt with was a result of “the growing number of Irish citizens travelling and living overseas”.

Coveney also paid tribute to the non-governmental organisations that have helped Irish citizens abroad this year.

“I must also acknowledge the great work done by partner organisations including the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in assisting citizens in distress,” Coveney said.

PastedImage-91763 Source: DFAT

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Rónán Duffy

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