Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Assistance to Irish citizens abroad

2016 has seen a 31 per cent increase in demand for consular assistance provided by the Department in Dublin and around the world, in comparison with the previous year. Between 2014 and 2016, there has been a dramatic 84 per cent increase in requests for help from Irish citizens in distress.

A number of different factors may have contributed to this increase. Irish citizens are travelling abroad more compared to recent years, with more than 7 million trips abroad now made each year by Irish residents. Increased public awareness and ease of access to the Department’s consular resources may have contributed to the increase in the number of requests for help the Department receives. While the Department’s use of enhanced software is also helping to provide more accurate statistics.

The biggest increases in numbers of cases were observed in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Thailand.

In terms of the types of consular cases the Department handles, we received slightly fewer requests for assistance in death cases last year when compared with 2015, and also observed a minor reduction in serious medical cases. The largest increases in case volumes were in the ‘welfare’ category (160 per cent increase) and arrests (76 per cent increase). While there is no single explanation for an increase in Irish citizens arrested abroad, it is important to remind citizens travelling to other countries to remain respectful to local police, present ID upon request, and to never drink and drive. There is increased vigilance by police in many countries against a backdrop of heightened security threats, and a lower tolerance for public order offenses.

There were also significant increases in complex and time-intensive cases such as mental health (77 per cent increase since 2015, and a 130 per cent increase since 2014) and child abduction (33 per cent increase year on year, and a near 50 per cent increase since 2014). The statistics only show new consular cases recorded in the year the initial request was received – the Department provides support and advice in many longer-running cases that continue into subsequent years.

Table 1: Requests for consular assistance

 

2014

2015

2016

 Advance of Funds

7

8

25

 Arrest

231

225

395

 Child Abduction

27

30

40

 Death

227

271

253

 Deportation

52

68

84

 Medical

230

292

314

 Mental Health

33

43

76

 Prisoner

55

59

58

 Welfare/Victim of crime/Missing Person

265

237

618

 Other

377

361

876

 Crisis (Estimates)

200 

800 

 400

TOTAL

1,704

2,394

3,139

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Consular Division