Security warnings in place for Irish citizens in several countries
Department of Foreign Affairs operates four tier status system for travelling public
After the thwarting of the recent coup, the security status of Turkey for Irish citizens has been downgraded from ‘avoid all non-essential travel’ to maintain a ‘high degree of caution’.
Turkey is the latest country where travelling Irish citizens have been advised to exercise caution by the Department of Foreign Affairs following Friday’s attempted coup. It is just one of several countries popular with Irish tourists where such security warnings are in place.
To help inform and keep tourists safe the Department operates a four tier security status system for people to consult before deciding on travelling to a certain area. The first tier is ‘normal precautions’ which the lowest level on the security status, where normal safety precautions are advised.
The second tier is ‘high degree of caution’ where additional security measures may need to be considered. This tier is applied to countries that have experienced a national security issue such as the recent events in France or Belgium. It is also applied to countries with high crime rates such as Mexico.
The third tier is ‘avoid non-essential travel’ where all travelling to these areas are largely advised against unless it is completely necessary. This is applied to areas with a recent history of frequent attacks, shootings and violence.
The fourth tier in the security status system is ‘do not travel’, where all travel to these countries is strongly advised against. This designation is given to countries in the midst of war, political instability and civil unrest. Countries such as Syria and Iraq fall into this designation.
Egypt – Avoid all non-essential travel
All non-essential travel to Egypt has been advised against because of the high threat of terrorism, frequent unrest and violence within the region. In the past year there have been frequent shootings, bomb attacks and other security incidents across the country, including Egypt’s capital Cairo.
Tunisia – Avoid all non-essential travel
Ever since the attacks in Sousse in June 2015 which saw 39 people killed, Irish citizens have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Tunisia because of increased security threats. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that there is a high risk of terrorist attacks in Tunisia, and anybody travelling to the region should maintain a strong level of security awareness, and monitor the local media closely and follow instructions by Tunisian authorities.
Turkey – High degree of caution advised
After the thwarting of the recent coup, the security status of Turkey has been downgraded from ‘avoid all non-essential travel’ to maintain a ‘high degree of caution’. Irish people travelling to the region have been advised to remain cautious because the threats of terrorism still remain high in the region.
France – High degree of caution
France’s state of emergency has just been extended after the most recent attacks in Nice. Additional security has been put in place in many major tourist attractions with tourists are being advised to maintain a high degree of caution while in France.
Belgium – High degree of caution
Tourists travelling to Belgium remains are asked to maintain a high degree of caution while visiting the country. The bombings at Brussels airport in March of this year have prompted Belgian authorities to maintain a Level three terrorist alert across the whole country, especially in areas of high concentration of people.
United Arab Emirates – High degree of caution
According to the Department of Foreign affairs and Trade there is generally a threat of terrorism in this region so a high degree of caution is advised. For this reason Irish people travelling to the United Arab Emirates are advised to maintain a high degree of caution when doing so.
Crime levels in the UAE remain low but local customs and laws can pose an issue for tourists. Irish tourists should exercise caution and educate themselves on local laws and customs of this region before travelling to it.
Russia – High degree of caution
Russia has been experiencing a high threat of terrorism in recent years so caution is advised. A number of terrorist attacks have taken place with the most recent being a suicide bombing in October 2014 in Chechnya’s capital Grozny. Irish tourists are being advised to maintain a high degree of caution while visiting Russia.
Mexico – High degree of caution
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is advising that citizens travelling to Mexico to maintain a high degree of caution, but further advice that they should avoid all non – essential travel to states of Michoacan, Guerrero and Tamaulipas. People travelling to Mexico should be very aware of their own security as the violent crime rate in Mexico is very high, with kidnapping being a huge risk in the main cities.
Morocco - High degree of caution
Irish citizens are advised that regional developments have the potential to trigger unrest in Morocco, and as with most countries in the region there is a high risk of terrorism with many of the hotels, beaches and bars being possible targets. Irish citizens are also warned that there is no Irish embassy in Morocco and the nearest one is in Lisbon if assistance is needed. Crime levels in Morocco are low, but sensible precautions should be employed.
South Africa - High degree of caution
The Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns that South Africa has a high level of crime including violent crime. However, while many of these incidents occur in the townships or away from normal tourist destinations, tourists are warned that nowhere is completely safe and tourists should be cautious when travelling in rural and urban environments.