Over 2,300 Irish citizens received consular assistance in 2015 – Minister Flanagan10 January 2016
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided consular assistance to over 2,300 Irish citizens in 2015, including the practical support provided to the families of 263 people who sadly passed away while abroad in 2015. This assistance and support was provided by the Department’s Consular Division in Dublin and its network of embassies and consulates around the world.
Releasing the 2015 consular statistics today Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, said:
“The dedicated staff in my Department provide professional and compassionate help to thousands of people each year. Across the world, Ireland’s diplomats stand ready to respond quickly and effectively to urgent consular cases and emergencies facing Irish citizens, often in difficult and challenging circumstances. Demand for frontline services across the globe increased sharply over the past year, as did the complexity of cases handled. For example, there was an increase in over 20% in both the number of serious medical / hospitalisation cases as well as, very sadly, the number of cases of Irish citizens who died while abroad.
“In terms of responding to major crises, 2015 saw an unprecedented level of action by Department staff, who assisted over 800 Irish citizens caught up in crises abroad. The most serious tragedy occurred in Berkeley, where six students, five Irish and one Irish-American, lost their lives and a further seven Irish students were injured. We also witnessed the horrific loss of life in the terrorist attacks at Sousse, Tunisia, and injury in the later Paris atrocities.
“My Department also responded to natural disasters, including the two earthquakes in Nepal.”
Minister Flanagan highlighted the importance of Irish holidaymakers being prepared:
“I urge Irish holidaymakers to check the regularly reviewed and updated travel advice on my Department’s website before they travel. It is very important that each individual ensures that they are well prepared before they undertake a foreign trip. Last year we published specific travel guides to inform people ahead of major events and we will do so again this coming year, including for the European Championships in France and the Rio Olympics. I urge those travelling to take out appropriate travel insurance.”
The Department’s Consular Division and mission network also provides authentication services for educational certificates, legal documents and company documents. In 2015, a total of 54,982 authentications were provided.
Minister Flanagan noted the importance of this work in facilitating business:
“Many of these authentications were required by companies in order to secure business and commercial transactions abroad. As part of our ongoing commitment to facilitating and supporting Irish business, the Department continues to offer a same day service for over 90 per cent of authentication requests.”
The Department registered 5,826 people for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration in 2015. The majority of these applications are received through Embassies and Consulates in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and South Africa, reflecting the large Irish communities living in these areas.
During 2015, the Department also issued 2,835 Certificats de Coutume (civil letters of freedom) to Irish citizens getting married or entering civil partnerships abroad, with the five most popular countries being Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and Germany.
Minister Flanagan also took the opportunity to thank the network of Honorary Consulates around the world:
“We are extremely grateful for the efforts of our network of approximately 100 Honorary Consulates in 58 countries in assisting Irish citizens visiting or living in their area. Our Honorary Consulates augment the work of our missions abroad by providing many vital services to Irish citizens.”
10 JANUARY 2016
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website has country-specific travel advice that is helpful for people planning trips abroad: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/
- Citizens can also register on-line before they travel at https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/. We encourage all citizens travelling abroad to register, but the facility is particularly useful for people travelling to remote destinations or more unusual locations where they may be at a higher risk. This way people can be contacted quickly if there is any emergency in the area while they are travelling.
- Foreign Births Registration applies where a person has been born abroad to an Irish citizen not born in Ireland.
- In 2015, new Honorary Consuls were appointed in Majorca, Lima, Auckland, Tenerife and Casablanca, while a new Honorary Consulate was opened in Calgary, Canada.
- Practical support was provided to the families of 263 people who died while abroad in 2015: this was an increase of 21% on the number of cases from 2014.