Dáil Éireann - Volume 634 - 21 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.

Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the estimated number of Irish journalists based in conflict zones around the world and the protection available to them. [10512/07]

  Mr. D. Ahern:The Department of Foreign Affairs has no estimate of the number of Irish journalists based in conflict zones around the world. The Department provides consular assistance and support to all Irish citizens who find themselves in difficulties when abroad. In recent times, this included at least two Irish journalists, in Iraq and in Zimbabwe. Citizens are advised, when travelling to a known conflict region of the world, that they should voluntarily register their details, and expected whereabouts, with the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate. This applies to all Irish citizens irrespective of their profession.

The Department also offers travel advice to Irish citizens travelling abroad and this advice is available on its website, www.dfa.ie. The advice is regularly updated and is designed to help Irish citizens make informed decisions before travelling overseas. The travel advice reflects the considered assessment of the risks involved and is based on the best information available to the Department. It draws on reports from Irish Diplomatic and Consular Missions overseas and [253] on the advice issued by other countries, including Member States of the European Union. Every effort is made to ensure that the advice offered is accurate, practical and reflective of the most up-to-date position. As the Deputy will appreciate, the final responsibility for undertaking any trip abroad must rest with the individual concerned.

Question No. 157 answered with Question No. 93.