Irish citizens advised not to travel to Sri Lanka
Department of Foreign Affairs updates advice warning against non-essential trips
Security is on high alert in the mosques across the Sri Lanka as muslims fear retaliation after at least 259 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a coordinated series of blasts during the Easter Sunday service at churches and hotels. Photograph: MA Pushpa Kumara/EPA
The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advisory for Sri Lanka and is now warning against “non-essential travel” to the country.
The updated warning comes in the wake of multiple explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday which targeted hotels and churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa and left hundreds of people dead and many more injured.
“In light of the ongoing volatile security situation in Sri Lanka, we advise Irish citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Sri Lanka at this time,” the updated advisory says.
The levels of advisory offered by the Department range from relatively safe, to high caution, to essential travel only, with the most extreme warning advising against all travel to a particular location.
Irish citizens in Sri Lanka have also been advised to “exercise a high degree of caution, to follow the instructions and advice of local authorities, to avoid large crowds and public spaces, and to stay indoors where possible” by the Department.
A State of Emergency came into effect in Sri Lanka on Tuesday and security has been increased throughout the country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs’ notice says Irish citizens there should “cooperate with the local security forces and closely monitor local news for updates on the security situation”.
It also warns travellers that a curfew remains in place from 10pm to 4am across the island, but stressed that tourists with valid flight tickets are permitted to travel to and from the airport during these times.
“Extra security checks at the airport may result in long delays and it is advisable to arrive early for check in, with some airlines advising passengers to arrive five hours in advance of their scheduled flight,” the notice says.
There is no Irish Embassy or consulate in Sri Lanka, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is limited in the help it can offer you in an emergency. There is an Honorary Consul in Colombo, but it has been closed on advice from the local authoritites. Irish citizens can also make contact with other EU embassies if they need urgent assistance.
The change in the advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs means tour operators will facilitate the cancellation of package holidays to the country, while people who have arranged their own visits will most likely be able to recoup money already spent through their travel insurance, as long as such eventualities are covered in the policies.