Take out proper protection when you are going abroad

[ Tuesday, 30th January 2007 ]

IRISH embassy staff frequently encounter the difficulties which Irish people experience when travelling abroad, as ex-pats turn to them for help when things go wrong.

Recently, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern warned Irish people to prepare for any eventualities that may arise.   He said: "Most Irish citizens who travel abroad do so without serious difficulty.  "However, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have unfortunately been very aware of some holidays abroad having been ruined and families suffering terrible tragedy and trauma."

Urging people to take out comprehensive medical/travel insurance, he advised choosing a policy to cover medical treatment, accidents and unexpected losses such as cancelled flights, or stolen cash, cards, passports or luggage.  The Minister said: "Cover should include the extra cost of travelling home in an emergency - which could even require an air ambulance. "If a person already has private medical cover, they should check with the insurer to confirm they are covered for foreign travel and how to activate this cover."  

Advance precautions should include the following:

giving contact details to a family member;
bringing contact details for the nearest Irish embassy or consulate and getting a European Health Insurance Card which ensures emergency
medical care on the same basis as a national in each EU state.
This card is available from local health boards or can be applied for online ( The EHIC replaces the Form E111, which is no longer valid.