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Irish advised to avoid Tunisia

Ireland has advised citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Tunisia - its second highest threat level.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said the expected decision was taken after consultations and consideration of the security situation in the North African state.

The advice was initially to "exercise extreme caution" in the wake of the terror attack in the resort of Sousse in which 38 tourists were killed.

Mr Flanagan said Irish diplomats have been in close contact with other countries affected by the atrocity and agencies to continually assess the security situation.

"We are now encouraging any Irish visitors to Tunisia to review whether their presence in Tunisia is essential and, where it is not, we are advising them to leave by commercial means," he said.

Mr Flanagan said "relatively few" Irish tourists are believed to be in Tunisia at present.

"Our embassy in Madrid, which is accredited to Tunisia, will be notifying those Irish citizens who are resident in the country of the changes to the travel advice," he said.

Diplomats now rank Tunisia alongside a number of countries where war, terrorism, political instability or disease is a danger including Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Sudan and Guinea.

Citizens travelling abroad are being urged to register their details on a special registration website - dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration - in order to provide them with quick consular assistance in the event of an emergency.

"I strongly encourage Irish citizens in Tunisia who are not yet registered with the department but who plan to remain in Tunisia to register without delay," Mr Flanagan said.

"We keep our travel advice under constant review and will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia very closely."

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