Irish people warned to be more vigilant when travelling

Simon Coveney says Ireland is better prepared then before

Irish people warned to be more vigilant when travelling

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney talking to the media in Iveagh House | Image: Leah Farrell/

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney says Irish people need to be more vigilant when travelling abroad.

It follows two separate terror attacks in Spain, which saw 14 people killed and at least 100 others injured in Barcelona and Cambrils.

A white van drove through a crowd in the popular Las Ramblas area, while later six people were hurt in the coastal town of Cambrils after attackers ran them over in a car.

Those five attackers were shot dead by police.

Nearly two million Irish people will travel to Spain this year, as it remains the number one destination for Irish tourists.

Mr Coveney says he was in Spain with his family on holidays just last week.

"Today really is about solidarity, it's about condolences with Spanish people and with Spain as a country", Mr Coveney told Newstalk Breakfast.

"This is another awful example of international terrorism. We've seen it now in London, in Paris, in Berlin, in Stockholm, in Nice, in Manchester and many other great European cities.

"And I think the response has to be to ensure that this type of cowardly, horrible terrorism doesn't change our way of life - and that we continue to travel and move around Europe in the way that we always have.

"But of course people need to be more vigilant now: they need to be aware of their surroundings, they need to take the advice of local authorities and local police in a way that perhaps in the past they didn't need to do.

"So our advice to people is of course you should continue to travel and to move ahead with your holiday plans - but be vigilant and be careful".

'Better prepared than ever'

Asked about Ireland's preparedness for any such attack, Mr Coveney said: "I think we're better prepared than we've ever been.

"Of course we need to be vigilant - I think it's important to say that though that the risk assessment in Ireland... hasn't changed and hasn't changed today.

"There's a possibility of an attack like this, but it's not likely".

"If you look at how, on the face if it anyway, Spanish security forces responded yesterday they seem to have responded very, very quickly.

"But of course when you have a mad man willing to drive a van into a crowded street, it is very difficult to prepare and to respond to that.

"But they're the new realities unfortunately that we live with in the European Union".

Anyone with concerns for the safety of Irish people in Barcelona can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353-1-4082000 or the Irish embassy in Madrid on +34-91-4364093