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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Ireland

Ireland - Consular Information Sheet
November 8, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Ireland is a highly developed democracy with a modern economy.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is necessary, but a visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to three months. For information concerning entry requirements for Ireland, travelers can contact the Embassy of Ireland at 2234 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; tel. (202) 462-3939, fax: 202-232-5993, or the nearest Irish consulate in Boston, Chicago, New York, or San Francisco. The Internet address of the Irish Embassy is: http://www.irelandemb.org.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: A peace agreement for Northern Ireland was ratified by voters in Ireland and Northern Ireland in May 1998. While the cease-fire that came into effect at that time is officially holding, there have been periodic incidents of violence associated with paramilitary organizations. Incidents of violence have been widespread in Northern Ireland, with at least the potential for some spill-over into Ireland. Travelers to Northern Ireland should consult the Consular Information Sheet for the United Kingdom.

CRIME INFORMATION: Although Ireland has a low rate of violent crime, incidents in which non-nationals and tourists have been victims of assault have increased. The numbers of racially-motivated attacks in particular have risen in the past year. There is a high incidence of petty crime, mostly theft, burglary, and purse snatching. Rental cars and tourists, particularly in the vicinity of tourist attractions, are targeted by thieves. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,for ways to promote a trouble-free trip. The pamphlet is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: Modern medical facilites and highly skilled medical practitioners are available. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including air evacuation, has proved useful.

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at tel. 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-800-CDC-FAXX(1-800-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ireland is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availablitiy of Roadside Assistance: Good

As driving is on the left side of the road in Ireland, motorists without experience in left-drive countries should be extra cautious. Tourists driving on the wrong side of the road are the cause of several serious accidents each year. Road conditions are generally very good, but once off main highways, country roads quickly become narrow and uneven. Roads are more dangerous during the summer and on holiday weekends due to an increase in traffic.

Taxis are reasonably priced, but availability varies with time of day. Bus service in cities is generally adequate, though many buses are overcrowded and frequently late. Inter-city bus and train services are reasonably good.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at: http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Irish driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Irish National Tourist Organization (Bord Failte) web site at http://www.ireland.travelie.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ireland's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ireland's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's web site at: http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Irish Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Ireland of items such as firearms. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Ireland in Washington or one of Ireland's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call 212-354-4480, or send an e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org., or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protection available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Irish laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ireland are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Most Irish banks will not accept U.S. $100 bills. Automated Teller Machines are widely available, but some ATM's, particularly in rural areas, may not accept U.S. bank ATM cards. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Ireland.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at: http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html, or telephone (202) 786-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Ireland are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in Ireland. The U.S. Embassy in Dublin is located at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, tel. (353)(1)668-7122; after hours tel. (353)(1)668-9612/9464; fax: (353)(1) 668-9946. Travelers to Northern Ireland may consult the Consular Information Sheet for the United Kingdom. Further information and answers to many frequently asked questions are available on the U.S. Embassy's Internet home page at http://www.usembassy.ie/.

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