Irish diplomatic staff helped 1,500 people in emergencies this year
IRELAND’S diplomatic staff assisted almost 1,500 citizens during overseas emergencies this year.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said 2011 was an exceptionally busy year with help given when people died and during arrests, kidnappings, accidents, child abductions and hospital admissions.
Hundreds more were assisted to flee areas of conflict in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Syria and supported after earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.
A spokesman said the fact that a number of these occurred at the same time and included countries where Ireland has no Embassy or diplomatic presence, posed particular challenges in helping Irish citizens and their families who found themselves in difficulty.
"The Department is continuing to monitor the security situation in a number of countries, particularly Syria and Egypt," he added.
Records showed that while consular assistance was provided to Irish citizens in virtually every country in the world, the highest number of emergencies happened in Spain, followed by Australia, the US, Britain, Thailand, France, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Greece and the United Arab Emirates.
Support was given to the families of almost 200 people who died abroad.
"Each one of these cases involves a tragedy to a family in Ireland and the Department wishes to extend sincere condolences to the families who suffered these bereavements, often in the most tragic and traumatic circumstances," he continued.
"The Department also dealt with nearly 300 cases of arrest, as well as a number of child abduction cases."
Elsewhere a total of 186 adoption dossiers were processed and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Irish citizens as part of the foreign adoption process.
Children were adopted from Russia, Bulgaria, Ethiopia and Mexico, with dossiers also received for use in Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and India.
It also authenticated 67,000 Irish documents such as educational certificates, legal documents and company documents, and processed in excess of 8,000 applications for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration - a person born abroad to a parent who, although not born in Ireland, was otherwise an Irish citizen at the time of the person's birth.
And it 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.