Irish embassies and consulates abroad, as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, assisted almost 1,650 Irish citizens in 2014 following serious consular emergencies, including deaths, arrests, accidents, child abductions and hospitalisations. The Department provided consular assistance to the families of 217 people who died while abroad.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, said Our staff are deeply committed to assisting Irish citizens in difficulty and to helping Irish families at home dealing with distressing situations abroad."
While consular assistance was provided to Irish citizens across the world, the highest number of cases occurred in Spain, followed by Australia, USA, Canada, Britain, France, Thailand, UAE and Portugal.
The Minister highlighted the importance of Irish holidaymakers being prepared:
“Having something go wrong on holidays can be stressful enough, without finding yourself unprepared and unable to pay for medical bills or other additional costs that may arise as a result. By taking out suitable travel insurance before travelling, our citizens can ensure they are in the best position possible to help themselves in the unfortunate situation that something does go wrong abroad.”
Services provided by the Department included the authentication of in excess of 60,000 Irish documents such as educational certificates, legal documents and company documents.
The Department registered more than 5,500 people for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration. The majority of these applications are received through the Embassies and Consulates in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and South Africa, reflecting the large Irish communities living in these areas. This is an increase of 10% on the 2013 figure.
During 2014, the Department also issued more than 3,000 Certificat de Coutume (civil letters of freedom) to Irish citizens getting married or entering civil partnerships abroad, with the most popular countries for the ceremonies abroad being Italy, Spain, Malta, France and Germany. 50 applications were received from Irish citizens entering into a same sex civil partnership abroad.