Saturday 1 October 2016

At least 170 Irish people currently in Egypt amid terrorism fears and travel clampdown

Claire Murphy and Ed Carty

Published 05/11/2015 | 12:02

Russian emergency services personnel working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat
Russian emergency services personnel working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat
Russian plane wreckage
A Russian rescuer checking passports collected from the wreckage of the A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat, in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
The wreckage of the A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Russian emergency services personnel working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
People gathered to light candles yesterday during a day of mourning for the plane crash victims in St. Petersburg, Russia
LOST IN THE DESERT: A relative reacts at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after the devastating news comes through of the crash of the 18-year-old Airbus

At least 170 Irish people are currently in Egypt amid terrorism fears.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said scores of passport holders had registered with its consular division but the official figure may not be a true reflection of all Irish citizens in the country.

Q&A: Sharm El Sheikh Q&A: Is it safe to visit Egypt's Red Sea resort?

Diplomats said they were constantly reviewing travel advice for Egypt after all Irish and UK flights to and from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh were suspended amid concerns that the Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai region last weekend was brought down by an "explosive device".

"The number of Irish citizens in Egypt who have registered their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is around 170," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"However, as registration is not compulsory, this figure does not reflect the total number of Irish citizens living in or visiting Egypt. 

"We advise all Irish citizens travelling abroad to register their contact details on https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/.

"The Department keeps its travel advice for all countries under ongoing review, and updated travel advice for Egypt can be found on our website.

"We are closely monitoring the situation in Egypt though our Embassy in Cairo," they added.

The numbers of Irish in Egypt were revealed after the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) directed Irish airlines not to fly to the area and diplomats updated travel advice for the region.

The last chartered flights to Red Sea resorts and other Egyptian tourist spots left Ireland in mid-October and are understood to have returned, while the next planned service for holidaymakers is on Christmas Eve.

No scheduled flights operate out of Dublin to Cairo or other Egytian destinations at this time of year, aviation chiefs said.

The IAA order bans Irish operators from travelling to and from the Sinai Peninsula or Sharm el-Sheikh.

Tourists going to the popular Red Sea destination are advised to exercise "a high degree of caution" and have been warned not to leave the resort.

"Irish citizens are advised to avoid non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to a heightened threat of terrorist incidents, including targeted attacks against foreigners, and a continuing threat of civil unrest," the DFA said.

It said exceptions to the heightened travel advice included destinations on the Red Sea coast such as Hurghada and others outside Sinai but that tourists should not leave resorts.

Elsewhere, people travelling to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel and cruising between those destinations are advised to exercise caution and arrive and depart by air, the DFA said.

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