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Minister Flanagan urges people to check travel advice before travelling

Passports, Travel, Consular, Minister Charles Flanagan, Visas, Press Releases, Ireland, 2016

Minister Flanagan urges people to check travel advice before travelling

- Minister points to the success of the new Passport Card

- Urges prospective travellers to renew their Passports in off-peak season

- Encourages visitors to the Holiday World exhibition at the RDS to visit the Passport Office stand

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, is encouraging visitors to Holiday World exhibition at the RDS this weekend to visit the Passport Office stand where they can get advice from members of staff and view samples of the new passport card which has been a huge success since the Minister launched it in 2015.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister Flanagan stated:

“The number of Irish people travelling abroad has continued to increase in recent years. For example, just over 670,000 passports were issued last year, which was an increase of 11% since 2011. At the same time, the Department provided consular assistance to over 2,300 Irish people.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can play a crucial role where Irish citizens overseas require emergency assistance so I am strongly advising those travelling, especially to remote locations, to register with my Department, read our travel advice, and take out travel insurance before they head away."

Minister Flanagan continued:

“I would like to remind travellers that they can check the travel advice and local laws and customs of different countries on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website which provides comprehensive and detailed country specific travel advice including information on the local security situation.

“Our website has useful tips for staying safe while abroad and reminds travellers that it is vital to take out comprehensive travel insurance before they holiday abroad and also to comply with local laws. We see all too many cases where the absence of comprehensive travel insurance has caused complex difficulties for the individuals and families involved, including with access to urgent medical treatment. The website also has information on where to seek help if things go wrong while abroad.”

The Minister also referred to the success of the recently launched Passport Card:

“The passport card which I launched in October has been a great success and over 14,000 cards have issued to date. The card provides flexibility and convenience in that it is valid for travel within 31 countries in Europe and it fits readily into a wallet or purse. It is of course an option and does not replace the passport book - applicants need to already hold an in-date book. The card is accepted by all major airlines operating in the State and is proving very popular with frequent travellers to Europe.”

The Minister also urged people to check the expiry date of their passports and those of their children and encouraged them to renew their passports in the off-peak period:

“January and February are ideal times to check if passports are up to date, and, if necessary to apply for a new passport book and card. Many travellers only realise their passports are out of date when it is too late so I would urge people to please keep an eye on the expiry date on their passports.

“Visitors to the Passport Service stand will be encouraged to register for the Passport Reminder Service. The reminder is a free service offered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade whereby citizens receive a reminder six and three months prior to their passport expiry date. Those who register by next Friday, 29 January, will be entered into a prize draw for an Apple iPad.”

ENDS

Press Office

22 January 2016

Note for Editors:

Further information on consular and passport services provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is available on our websites at www.dfat.ie and www.passport.ie

The Passport Service is at stand H8 at the Holiday World Exhibition.

The iPad prize for registration with the reminder service is provided courtesy of Absolute Graphics.