Irish holidaymakers urged to cancel non-essential travel to one tourist hotspot over ‘unstable’ situation

Irish holidaymakers have been urged to cancel all non-essential travel to Sri Lanka due to ongoing social unrest.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised against all non-essential travel to the country and says there is a shortage of basic goods, including food, fuel and medicines.

In a statement, it said: “The security situation in Sri Lanka is unstable and violent incidents have occurred during recent demonstrations.

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“On 9 May 2022, the Government of Sri Lanka imposed an island-wide curfew, restricting movement around the country.

“A State of Emergency remains in place. Large scale protests, some violent, have occurred in the Galle Face area of Colombo and other locations in the city and across the island.”

The Department also issued advice for any Irish citizens currently in Sri Lanka.

It said: “Irish citizens in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of local authorities, carry relevant identification and travel documentation with them at all times, and inform themselves of any restrictions on movement put in place by closely following local media.”

Irish tourists are also asked to avoid protests, demonstrations and crowds.

They have also been encouraged to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in New Delhi.

Those who still wish to travel to Sri Lanka must complete a Health Declaration Form and pay for Covid-19 travel insurance as mandated by the Sri Lankan government.

Fully vaccinated travellers are currently exempt from the pre-departure PCR testing requirement.

However, there are additional pre-departure and on-arrival testing requirements and quarantine arrangements for unvaccinated and recovered travellers.

The Department also said as it does not have an Irish Embassy in the country, the help it can offer Irish citizens in an emergency is limited.

It said: “As there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Sri Lanka, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul in Colombo.

“We suggest you learn as much as you can about Sri Lanka before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you are in Sri Lanka, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.”

Pro-government protesters beat anti-government protester during a clash on May 09, 2022 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a state of emergency following escalating anti-government protests. Supporters of Sri Lanka’s ruling party have stormed a major protest site in Colombo, attacking anti-government demonstrators and clashing with police. Dozens of protesters have been injured.
Pro-government protesters beat anti-government protester during a clash on May 09, 2022 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The news comes after things turned violent on Monday night after Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his resignation.

At the end of March, protesters had already stormed the home of his brother and the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to demand his resignation, resulting in the declaration of a state of emergency, giving the security forces more powers.

Protests on the streets of Colombo have been ongoing for the past two months, but this has now descended into violence, with the armed forces ordered by the government to shoot any looters on sight.

Mobs have also been torching houses, and hundreds have been left injured in clashes.

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