THERE has been a worrying increase in the number of Irish people dying abroad in the first half of this year.
New figures from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs show that 176 Irish nationals died abroad between January and the end of June.
That is compared to the 126 Irish nationals who died during the same period last year – a staggering increase of almost 40 per cent.
Most deaths occur in popular tourist hotspots like Spain, France and Portugal as well as Britain.
Pat Bourne, head of the Consular Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, explained why 2017 is, sadly, likely to be a record year for Irish deaths overseas.
“It is related to the increased number of people travelling overseas," said Mr Bourne. "There are higher numbers of younger people travelling overseas and younger people do tend to engage in more risky behaviours.”
He added: “They tend to indulge more in alcohol. People should be aware there are higher risks, people lose their inhibitions and they maybe do things that they wouldn’t normally do while they’re on holiday.”
A spokesperson for the department told The Irish Post that holidaymakers should invest in comprehensive travel insurance to ease the burden on their families should the unthinkable occur abroad.
“We strongly recommend that when travelling abroad that the person travelling obtains comprehensive travel insurance as it is in these difficult scenarios that having the right cover can make things a lot easier for the next-of-kin,” they said.
“Irish citizens travelling or living overseas are encouraged to register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The information will allow us to contact the person travelling, and provide assistance, if necessary and possible, if there is an unforeseen crisis such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or if the person travelling has a family emergency while overseas.”