Tourism officials reject Australia's warning over crime risk for tourists
Published 15/04/2016 | 02:30
Australian tourists have been warned about travelling to Ireland because of "tensions" linked to the 1916 centenary, as well as petty crime here.
However, tourism bosses have rejected the suggestion that visitors are at risk whilst on holidays here.
Australia's Foreign Affairs department updated its travel advice on Ireland ahead of the anniversary of the Easter Rising.
It said people should exercise "common sense" and be on alert for "suspicious behaviour".
"Tensions between dissident republicans and unionists have increased in the lead up to the centenary of the Easter Rising (24-29 April)," the warning states.
"You should avoid all protests and demonstrations, including those associated with Northern Ireland, as they may turn violent," the advice continues.
Separately, Australian travellers were warned that car theft and break-ins are increasing, especially in Dublin and tourist locations.
Credit card and ATM scams are becoming more common, it says.
But Fáilte Ireland pointed to its most recent visitor attitudes survey which revealed that 92pc of tourists list safety and security as one of their top reasons for visiting Ireland.
A spokesman said the warning from Australian authorities does not reflect what visitors feel on the ground.
"The Australian advice flies in the face of what we know and what visitors have told us about security."
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism also maintained Ireland is a safe country for tourists to visit.
"When compared to the number of tourists entering the country, Ireland is a very safe destination and the rate of crime against tourists is quite low," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.