Annual Travel Advice20 June 2010
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D. today called for Irish people to exercise caution and common sense while travelling abroad this summer. The Minister pointed out that while the vast majority of trips abroad take place safely and without injury, unfortunately for a small minority the consequences of some unforeseen events can be tragic. The Minister’s comments came against a background of a rising number of deaths of Irish citizens abroad and the onset of the summer holiday season. Recent travel disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud also brought to mind the importance of people taking additional care in making their travel arrangements.
Minister Martin pointed out that primary responsibility for ensuring a citizen’s safety lies with the citizen themselves and it is incumbent on all to exercise common sense and to take sensible precautions. In particular, the Minister called on those travelling abroad to:
- First and foremost – an absolute necessity - take out personal travel insurance. The lack of insurance has caused huge hardship to many families who have found a loved one the victim of an accident/crime or struck down with a sudden illness. The Minister stressed that travel insurance is of fundamental importance adding “I cannot stress strongly enough the necessity of taking travel insurance out before you travel.”
- Be aware of what recreational activities are and are not covered by your travel insurance policy.
- Register on line with the Department of Foreign Affairs website www.dfa.ie so that in the event of an emergency or local natural disaster the nearest Irish embassy or consulate can contact you.
- Consult the latest the travel advice on the www.dfa.ie website. The advice is there for the benefit of travellers abroad and if there is a sudden change in the situation, it will be posted on this site.
- If travelling to a member state of the European Union, be advised that you are entitled to receive emergency medical treatment on the same basis as a national of the country concerned but you must have a European Health Insurance Card issued by your local health authority. Make sure that you apply for your card well in advance of your intended travel date.
- Ensure that you have access to enough money for the trip, and some in reserve in case of emergency. Try to limit the amount of cash you carry on your person.
- Make sure your travel documents are in order - passport, visa etc. Apply for your passport well in advance. It is a good idea to bring a photocopy of your personal information pages of the passport with you. Keep this separate from your passport. This will greatly speed up the issuance of an emergency travel document if your passport is lost.
- Respect local laws and customs and do not engage in anti-social or reckless behaviour. If intending to drive abroad, familiarise yourself with the rules of the road of the country you will be visiting. Avoid consuming excessive quantities of alcohol or purchasing or using illicit drugs. Avoid unnecessary risks. Do not go swimming while intoxicated and never drink and drive.
- Consult the Department Consular Charter, “Travel Safely – Slán Abhaile” which can be obtained from the Department, libraries and some Garda stations. It is also on the www.dfa.ie website. This publication outlines in very readable terms the type of consular assistance that the Irish State can provide. It also indicates areas where the Government cannot assist such as legal fees abroad, undertake an investigation into a crime etc.
The Minister went on to state that if a citizen encounters difficulty abroad and needs consular assistance, the address and telephone numbers of all our missions overseas, including our Embassies, Consulates and Honorary Consulates can be accessed on the www.dfa.ie website.
While wishing all those about to embark on a holiday an enjoyable and happy journey, the Minister added that taking the above steps will help ensure a safe summer vacation for Irish families this year.