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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Medics among 170 Irish citizens travelling from Perth back to Ireland today

There are around 2,000 Irish citizens stranded in 83 countries around the world – most of these are in Australia.

A man wearing a face mask in the arrivals hall at Dublin Airport.
A man wearing a face mask in the arrivals hall at Dublin Airport.
Image: PA

SOME OF THE Irish citizens who have been left stranded in Australia after a shutdown was announced on Monday, are being flown home today.

It’s been confirmed that 170 Irish citizens from Perth, Australia left on a flight yesterday afternoon, organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs, embassies in Australia, and the airline Qantas.

This group, which includes a group of Irish medics, will travel through the UK before arriving back in Ireland today.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is recommending that any Irish citizens in Australia who have not already done so to contact the Irish Embassy in Canberra or Consulate General in Sydney by email: canberraem@dfa.ie and sydney@dfa.ie.

The Department said yesterday that it’s leaving “no stone unturned” in its efforts to assist over 2,000 Irish citizens who are stranded abroad in 86 due to countries closing their borders and flights being grounded because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The majority of Irish citizens are stranded in Australia, with a “couple of hundred” in New Zealand, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said. There are around 100 Irish citizens stranded in Peru, where the Irish government plans to send a chartered flight to pick up citizens.

There are other citizens, in smaller groups, left stranded in countries such as Thailand and Argentina.

At the moment, the Irish government is urging citizens to book a flight on the little remaining commercial flights, where possible. Other efforts will be made for citizens who are left stranded in countries where there already is a shutdown.

“We are witnessing the biggest shutdown in global aviation since the dawn of commercial flight,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

We have never seen anything like it before, it eclipses the shutdowns following the September 11th attacks and the volcanic ash crisis.The situation is fast-moving and volatile.  

If you are on a flight from Australia back to Ireland, or are a healthcare worker looking to get back home to Ireland, you can get in touch at: grainne@thejournal.ie.

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