Prepare for lengthy delays at the border, fans warned
IRISH fans travelling to Poland are facing the prospect of lengthy delays and possible searches as they enter the country.
Border controls have been reinstated by the Polish authorities for the competition and the Irish authorities have warned that this could lead to long queues, especially for those travelling by road or rail.
Thousands of Irish fans will begin taking to the road and the air in the coming days ahead of the Republic of Ireland's opening match in Euro 2012.
Many are also expected to travel by rail from Berlin, taking advantage of less expensive flights from Ireland to the German capital.
Under an extension of the Schengen agreement, Poland abolished passport controls for EU citizens entering by land from neighbouring countries in 1997. However, these are being reinstated by the Polish authorities for the duration of the championship.
Passport checks will be carried out at all Polish borders, the Department of Foreign Affairs has warned. Searches for drugs can also be expected on vehicles entering Poland.
The department is reminding fans that they will be unable to enter the country without a valid passport, and to take out travel insurance as the Irish Embassy will not cover medical costs or repatriation expenses should an emergency arise.
Meanwhile, extra consular staff have been sent to Poznan, where Ireland will play their opening match of the tournament against Croatia a week tomorrow (June 10).
An emergency 24-hour helpline has been set up for Irish citizens who find themselves in need of assistance, and the consulate in Poznan will remain open each day from June 9-19 inclusive.
Similar arrangements have been put in place in Gdansk, where Ireland play their second match against Spain on June 14.
Staff at the embassy in Warsaw have also been put on standby in the event of assistance being required.
Fans planning to drive to Poland are being warned by the Department of Foreign Affairs that fatal car accidents there are "very common". A total of 65 people were killed on Polish roads during the May bank-holiday weekend and there were 5,000 arrests for drink driving.
More information for travelling fans is available at the Department of Foreign Affairs website, www.dfa.ie.