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  • Minister Martin highlights services for citizens abroad

    Thursday, January 8th, 2009

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin has highlighted the value of several services provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs to its citizens abroad. In a recent statement on those services, the Minister noted that Irish residents made 8 million trips overseas. He spoke of the assistance offered by the Department, which provides services to those in crisis situations, including national emergencies and bereavements.

    He encouraged citizens living abroad to register with the travel registration service that was launched last year. He noted the utility of this service during the recent protests in Bangkok:

    Most of the Irish citizens stranded in Bangkok were passing through, many of their way to or from Australia. These were scattered throughout the city and surrounding areas. Under the old system, it would have involved a major bureaucratic exercise to contact and register them all. With the new on-line registration system in place, almost 400 Irish citizens in the Thai capital were able to provide their own contact information, enabling the Department to stay in close contact with them throughout the crisis. Many of the young Irish registered with the Department using internet cafes in Bangkok. It involved the use of simple technology but had a huge effect and enabled the Department to stay in touch with Irish citizens on a large scale. If an evacuation of Irish citizens was required, the data base provided by the system of voluntary on line registration would have been invaluable.

    Minister Martin also urged citizens to take out comprehensive medical and travel cover to avoid any kind of burden as they travel abroad. He called attention to the booklet “Travel Safely – Slán Abaile”, produced by the DFA last year, as a useful resource for ensuring a safe visit overseas.

    The DFA dealt with around 200 deaths abroad in 2008 – a 33% increase on the 150 reported in 2007.

    See related websites:

    DFA launches charter, registration facility

    Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

    The Department of Foreign Affairs has launched two new services on its website, aimed at those travelling or resident overseas. The two services are:

    • a Consular Services Charter for citizens, called “Travel Safely, Slán Abhaile” – a document setting out the range of services provided by embassies and consulates abroad, as well as advice on steps to take before travelling abroad.
    • an online travel registration facility for Irish people resident or travelling abroad – aimed particularly at those travelling to remote or dangerous locations, and at improving the DFA’s capacity to locate Irish citizens caught in a major crisis or family emergency.

    In launching the services, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said,

    As people travel more frequently, the demand for our Consular services has increased….This new service will significantly improve our capacity to locate and connect with Irish citizens caught up in a crisis and to get assistance to them. It also will improve our ability to provide timely and accurate information to their relatives in Ireland.

    He added that the DFA’s approach to consular assistance

    is interventionist and places the welfare of Irish citizens in need at its core. Officers of the Department at home and abroad repeatedly display a willingness to go the extra mile and deliver on that commitment. I know from my own direct dealings with people in difficulty and their families that this is greatly appreciated. Last year alone, the Department of Foreign Affairs provided direct assistance in over 130 cases of deaths abroad.

    Irish people made nearly eight million trips abroad last year. ‘Travel Safely, Slán Abhaile’ will be distributed widely through public libraries, schools, universities and colleges, travel agents, citizen information centres and at missions abroad.

    See the press release for more information.

    See the Travel Registration page on the DFA website.

    See the Consular Services Charter on the DFA website.