Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (56)

Tom Hayes


185 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the level of contact between the Government and the authorities in Saudi Arabia regarding the murder of an Irish national (details supplied); the advice being given by his Department to Irish nationals living in Saudi Arabia or intending to travel there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25233/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

It was with great regret that my Department learned that an Irish national was tragically killed in Saudi Arabia in August 2004. I am sure I speak for all Members of the House in extending our deepest sympathy to the family. Following his death, our embassy in Riyadh extended all possible consular assistance to his family and the embassy has had numerous contacts with the Saudi Arabian authorities in relation to the case. We have emphasised to them the importance of protecting the lives of expatriates in Saudi Arabia and have called for the killers of this person to be brought to justice.

In light of the continuing threat from terrorism, my Department has been advising Irish citizens for some time to avoid non-essential travel to Saudi Arabia. We are also advising citizens to maintain the highest levels of personal security and to limit travel within Saudi Arabia to essential journeys only. This advice is available on my Department's website www.dfa.ie.

In addition, our embassy in Riyadh has established a system of wardens to maintain contact with the Irish community. Through these wardens, the embassy provides regular bulletins to the community on the security situation in Saudi Arabia and updated advice on the most appropriate protection measures. There is also close co-operation and exchange of information between EU embassies in Riyadh in relation to security threats in Saudi Arabia.

My Department, through the Irish embassy in Riyadh, will remain in contact with the Saudi Arabian authorities in relation to the security of Irish citizens generally in Saudi Arabia and will continue to monitor the investigation of this case.