Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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39. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the specific monetary or other supports that can be offered to Irish citizens destitute abroad due to Covid-19 and unable to pay the costs requested by airlines to bring them home. [6785/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides all possible consular advice and assistance to citizens overseas, where requested and where appropriate.

As part of the comprehensive approach to the repatriation of our citizens overseas in the context of COVID-19, our focus has been on helping citizens who are normally resident in Ireland to return home safely on commercial flights where possible and, where not possible and if available, on chartered repatriation flights.

As is standard practice across the EU, UK and elsewhere, citizens are required to pay for all flights, whether commercial or chartered. In a few very exceptional cases, consideration has been given to providing a loan to cover part of the cost of the flight, on the basis of this being repaid in full within six months. As with all consular assistance, resources are focused where they are most needed, based on an assessment of vulnerability in individual cases.  

To date, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including our network of Embassies and Consulates overseas, has advised and assisted over 6,000 citizens in returning home to Ireland from 129 countries. We will continue to provide all possible consular advice and assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

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