More than 50 Irish have died abroad this year
MORE than 50 Irish nationals have died so far this year while holidaying or working abroad.
Irish backpacker Elaine Morrow (23), from Ballintra, Co Donegal, who died in a scuba diving accident in Australia last weekend, was among 56 Irish nationals who died of accidental natural or unnatural causes while away from home.
Last year, 210 Irish nationals died while abroad compared with 243 in 2009.
And with the growing number of young people now leaving these shores to find work overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs is concerned about an "upsurge" in the number of requests for consular assistance to deal with deaths, accidents, hospitalisations and arrests.
Last year, the department dealt with more than 1,330 "serious consular emergencies", prompting Tanaiste and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore to urge Irish citizens planning trips this year to "take sensible precautions while overseas".
At the launch of Drinkaware's Holiday Survival Guide earlier this month, he said: "An increasing number of Irish citizens are finding themselves in distressing situations while abroad and travelling to ever more exotic and unusual destinations."
In some cases, alcohol and drugs were factors
The majority of emergencies took place in popular holiday spots like Spain, the US, Australia, France, the UK, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. But serious incidents have also occurred in exotic locations such as Nepal, Haiti, Ecuador, Mongolia and Sierra Leone.