Saturday 10 December 2016

Minister urges fans travelling to Olympics to be vigilant in light of terrorist attack fears

Published 03/08/2016 | 17:24

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD during a press conference for the Olympics. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD during a press conference for the Olympics. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Irish sports fans planning to travel to Brazil for the Olympic Games next week have been urged to be vigilant in light of fears about a potential terrorist attack.

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Concerns over a possible attack to coincide with the games in Rio de Janeiro have increased in recent weeks as police detained a number of people suspected of being linked to the so-called Islamic State.

There is also concern about the Zika virus.

Over 1,000 Irish fans are due to travel to games, which begin next Friday. Some 77 athletes are competing on behalf of Team Ireland across 13 sports, including 26 women.

Speaking in Dublin on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan urged those travelling to show caution and follow the safety advice from the local authorities.

“Obviously security and internal affairs matters are ones for the Brazilian government and the Brazilian authorities,” Mr Flanagan said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD during a press conference for the Olympics. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD during a press conference for the Olympics. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

“We would, as we did for our citizens attending in France, we’d ask that all due caution be exercised, that people be careful, that people follow local advice, be it from the police force or from the civil authorities. We wish everybody an enjoyable pursuit but exercise care,” he added.

The Fine Gael minister also advised pregnant women, as well those planning to become pregnant, not to travel to Rio de Janeiro in light of the Zika virus.

“Our advice is based on the expert advice of the HSE. We recommend that women who are pregnant or those who are trying to become pregnant should considering postponing their travel to Brazil or to Rio.”

Mr Flanagan confirmed that a member of An Garda Síochána will travel to Brazil for the games, which begin on Friday.

The officer will be based with the International Police Cooperation Centre.

The Laois TD also urged those travelling to download a new smartphone app called ‘Travel Wise’.

Anyone needing assistance in Brazil should phone +55 613 248 8800 or visit the website www.dfa.ie/rio2016.

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