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Tánaiste announces figures for consular assistance in 2012

Tánaiste announces figures for consular assistance in 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today announced figures for consular assistance provided to Irish citizens overseas in 2012.  Assistance was provided in nearly 1,500 individual cases.  The figure matches the increased levels of assistance recorded in the past three years.
The Tánaiste commended the dedicated support provided by the staff of Irish Embassies and Consulates, as well as the Consular Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for the 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, service which they maintain to ensure that assistance is available to Irish nationals and their families who get into difficulty abroad. 

Commenting on the figures the Tánaiste expressed his personal condolences to those families that suffered bereavements of loved ones abroad.   He urged travellers to obtain appropriate medical and travel insurance to avoid the burden placed on families in the unfortunate event of an accident or incident.  The Tánaiste said:
“If you are planning to travel abroad in the year ahead, either on holiday or to work, you should plan in advance and always keep your safety in mind.  You should ensure that you have travel insurance, that your passport is up-to-date, and take note of the contact details of the relevant Irish Embassy for the country where you are visiting."
“Much useful information is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website - including country specific travel advice and a comprehensive guide to travelling safely abroad.” 

“In particular, I urge Irish citizens to register online with the Department before travelling overseas whether on holidays, on business or resident abroad.  The advantage of registering is that if there is a major crisis abroad, the Department has a record of your details, and can contact you or your family at an early stage in a crisis.”

In 2012 the Department assisted nearly 1,500 Irish citizens following serious consular emergencies, including deaths, arrests, accidents, child abductions and hospitalisations.  While Consular assistance was provided to Irish citizens in virtually every country in the world, by far the highest number of consular emergencies occurred in Spain, followed by Australia, US, France, Britain, Turkey, Thailand, Canada, UAE, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland and Portugal. 

In particular, the Department and Irish Embassies provided consular assistance to the families of 194 people who sadly died while abroad, a number of these in very tragic circumstances. 
Assistance was also provided in 290 cases of arrest, as well as in a number of difficult and protracted child abduction cases.
During the Euro 2012 Finals the Department opened dedicated consular offices in Gdansk and Poznan and provided 24 hour cover for fans travelling for the tournament.  These provided comprehensive consular support to over 180 individual consular cases and several hundred more citizens were advised and assisted with queries. 
Consular officers based in our Embassy in London provided assistance as required during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.  

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also monitored the situation in the Middle East closely over the course of 2012.   The Department through its Embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv maintains contact with Irish citizens in Syria and in Israel and the Occupied Territories in relation to their safety and welfare.

Details of other Consular services provided in 2012:

In 2013 the Department will switch the Foreign Births and Marriages Abroad services to an online application system which will lead to a better service for customers and savings for the Department. It will allow for the production of better statistics, make the processes more secure and provide reports on any new trends in regard to these services. 

During 2012, the Department issued more than 2,500 Certificat de Coutume (civil letters of freedom) to Irish citizens getting married abroad, with the most popular countries being Italy, Spain, Germany, Malta and Scotland.

The Department processed in excess of 8,000 applications for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration (a person born abroad to an Irish citizen not born in Ireland).  The majority of these applications are received through the Embassies and Honorary Consulates in the United States, Britain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, reflecting the large Irish communities living in these areas.

The Department also authenticated in excess of 50,000 Irish documents such as educational certificates, legal documents and company documents, which were required for presentation abroad, many of which were required in order to secure employment or for property and commercial transactions. The Department continues to offer a same day service for the majority of authentication requests.