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Assistance to Irish citizens abroad

In the first quarter of 2017, the overall number of consular assistance cases increased by 8 per cent in comparison with Q1 of 2016. This is in line with the growth in consular assistance work observed over the past two years.

The number of deaths among Irish citizens increased by a significant 23 per cent in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year. There is some relevant context with the an observed increase of foreign trips by Irish residents and changing demographics of our citizens overseas.

The number of mental health cases that are dealt with by our consular officers remains high, and these can be especially complex and challenging cases. The Consular Directorate has been working to improve the services and preparation for all our staff in resolving these cases, which often involve citizens in very vulnerable situations.

One of the key challenges facing the consular assistance service provided is a large increase in the number of missing person/welfare cases. New technology and the immediacy of information exchange have made us all ever more connected and mean that we receive contact from concerned family members much more quickly than in the past.

Positively, there has been a 44% decrease in the numbers of arrests and subsequent prisoner cases have also decreased. This may reflect a greater sense of responsibility and awareness amongst Irish citizens when travelling abroad.


Table 1: Requests for consular assistance

  2015 Q1 2016 Q1 2017 Q1 % change
Accident/Illness 19 0 0
Advance of Funds 1 5 9 80%
Arrest 46 94 53 -44%
Child Abduction 3 6 2 -67%
Child Welfare 0 9 13 44%
Death 57 60 74 23%
Deportation 21 16 16 0%
Medical 25 69 68 -1%
Mental Health 6 20 17 -15%
Prisoner 16 20 7 -65%
Welfare/Victim of crime/Missing Person 60 103 139 35%
Other 73 89 130 46%
Crisis (Estimates) 1 0 0
Total 328 491 528 8%

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Consular Division