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    Minister Martin highlights services for citizens abroad

    By Noreen Bowden | January 8, 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.

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    Topics: Irish Abroad Unit, Latest News | No Comments »