Sunday 15 September 2019

Schools advised to cancel trips to France


John Brennan

Schools have been advised not to embark on trips to France this weekend following last Friday's attacks in Paris.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be closely monitoring the ongoing situation in Paris, and is mirroring advice issued by the French Ministry of Education.

The statement from the department said: "As part of the national state of emergency, the French Ministry of Education has cancelled all school trips within France by French schools until Sunday 22 November.

"This includes excursions to cultural sites and travel by school groups on public transport.

"The DFA recommends Irish schools planning to take groups to France between now and November 22 follow the French Ministry of Education's advice not to travel."

The Department of Education and Skills backed the decision, saying it is based on advice from the French authorities.

A spokesman added that the issue will be kept under review in consultation with colleagues in the DFA.

One secondary school whose students are due to travel to Paris this weekend are set to cancel their plans following the DFA's warning.

Grainne Quinn, Managing Director of the School Tour Company, said they have received many calls from schools and parents on the back of the updated travel advice.

"We're very lucky because we've only had one group travelling before Christmas to Paris and at this stage they hadn't decided whether to cancel or postpone it," she said.

"My gut feeling is that they will postpone it because I think right now it's not a good idea to go to Paris and it's a big responsibility to look after children (abroad).

"We've had a number of groups whose mums and dads are concerned about whether they should go on the trips or not."

Aer Lingus runs four daily flights to Paris and has been offering customers the chance to "change or refund their flights" until November 22.

Irish Independent

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