23/03/2016

Ireland Stands With The People Of Belgium - Flanagan

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, has issued a further statement on the terrorist attacks in Brussels following a cabinet meeting.

"This morning the Dáil observed a minute's silence in response to this horrific terrorist attack. I echo the words of the Taoiseach in saying that Ireland stands with the people of Belgium against terrorism," Deputy Flanagan said.

"The information available at the present time indicates that there have been multiple fatalities and injuries, both at the site of Maalbeek metro station and at Brussels airport.

"I briefed Cabinet this morning on the emerging situation and Ministers are working closely together as we deal with the fall-out from this heinous attack, as are our officials across Government here and in Belgium.

"Our immediate concern, of course, is for the welfare of Irish citizens in Brussels. At this point, there are no reports of any Irish citizens having been injured. However, the situation is very fluid and information is still emerging. The Irish Embassy in Brussels is actively liaising with the Belgian authorities as they work to identify those who were affected by these attacks.

"The Irish Ambassador to Belgium, Mr Eamonn Mac Aodha, is monitoring the situation on the ground and is in touch with the relevant authorities, including the Belgian National Emergency Centre, and is providing me with regular updates on the situation.

"Ambassador Mac Aodha has informed me that the large number of Irish staff working at the Permanent Representation, the Embassy and the various State agencies, and their loved ones, are all accounted for.

"My Department's Consular Division has been active since reports of the blasts reached us just after 07.00 am this morning, and is responding to calls from the public. Our travel advice for Belgium has been updated and recommends that citizens exerciseextreme caution if in Belgium, and that they closely follow the instructions of local authorities. This advice is available on my Department's website, www.dfa.ie.

"Anyone concerned for the welfare of an Irish citizen in Brussels can contact my Department at +353 1 418 0200, where a dedicated team of staff is available to take calls."

(MH)

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