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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Ireland 2018 Crime & Safety Report

 

According to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication, Ireland has been assessed as Level 1. Exercise normal precautions.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Dublin does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Dublin as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Please review OSAC’s Ireland-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Crime Threats

The general crime rate in Ireland is below the U.S. national average. Crimes against U.S. citizens usually involve petty theft, burglary (for U.S. citizens living in Ireland), and other minor offenses. Ireland hosts a large number of U.S. and other foreign tourists throughout the year. There is also a sizeable expatriate presence of Americans and U.S. business interests in the country. During 2017, property crime rose 7% nationally compared to 2016. Crimes against the person were up 12% in 2017 compared to 2016. There was a 16% increase in reported sexual offenses in 2017 compared with 2016. Total criminal damage and total public order offending increased in 2017, both up 5% on 2016 totals. Burglary (not aggravated) is up nationally by 3%. However, the Dublin region recorded a decrease of 1%. Dublin remains the county with the highest crime rate in accordance with its demographically large population. 

Violent crime is rare but does exist. Over the past three years, An Garda Síochána, or Garda, (the Irish police) has focused resources primarily on violence associated with organized criminal groups, particularly related to drug trafficking. Violence has resulted in the murder of multiple individuals associated with criminal organizations.

Recorded crime incidents classified by offense group and annualized total1 Q4 2016 and 2017

National Overview

 

2016

2017

Change

% Change

Murder

38

40

2

+5.5%

Burglary (not aggravated)

17,740

18,272

532

+3%

Property Crime National Total

83,641

89,506

5,865

+7%

Crimes Against the Person National Total

17,327

19,382

2,055

+12%

Sexual Offences National Total

2,548

2,951

403

+16%

Criminal Damage National Total

22,053

23,137

1,084

+5%

Public Order National Total

23,961

25,119

1,158

+5%

Weapons and Explosives Offences

2,123

2315

192

+9%

Drugs Offences (Sale/Supply)

3,689

3,984

295

+8%

Note: Crime incident figures and the associated trends are based on provisional data. The CSO publications that will be available later in 2018 represent the official crime statistics. The figures above are based on data as was available on 02/01/2018 and may change.

Cybersecurity Issues

Cybercrime is a major concern and a growing threat that the Irish government is taking step to address. The Irish government has not provided current data on the number of reported cybercrimes for 2017.

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.”

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions and road safety standards meet or exceed U.S standards except in remote areas, where roads can be extremely narrow and difficult to navigate. Vehicle accidents are common and are a major hazard for tourists, especially those not accustomed to driving in Ireland, which is a right-side drive country. Major roads are well maintained, and extensive lighting exists. Weather conditions, especially in the western part of the country, can contribute to hazardous road conditions for drivers. 

Public Transportation Conditions

The overall transportation system is assessed as efficient and safe. Taxis, buses, and trains are all considered safe. 

Other Travel Conditions

There are a number of tour organizations that arrange travel throughout the country, with varying degrees of service. None are deemed off-limits.

Terrorism Threat

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Dublin as being a LOW-threat location for terrorist activity directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

There are known indigenous terrorist organizations operating in Ireland. These organizations, however, tend to focus their activities on criminal profits as opposed to ideological or political concerns. The ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe and recent attacks throughout the continent have not directly affected Ireland. While Ireland has not yet experienced any transnational terrorist attacks, the Garda consider an attack “possible, but not likely.” 

Ireland's government ministers recognize the security problem created by "criminal terrorists," whose criminal activities have a weak ideological underpinning and tend to involve a cross-border (Northern Ireland) element. 

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment

A small but vocal and active percentage of Irish citizens oppose the U.S. activity in Afghanistan, military use of Shannon Airport, and perceived support for Israel; otherwise, anti American/anti-west sentiment is extremely low.

  • In 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Dublin did encounter demonstrations, although these protests were never violent or disruptive to Embassy operations.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Dublin as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Civil Unrest

Large-scale protests against the Irish government’s implementing a water tax and protests against a potential repeal of the ban on abortions occurred in 2017. These incidents appeared to have no negative impact on tourism, nor were they directed at U.S. interests. Protests can be well organized and attended. Irish police presence is generally adequate, although Americans are encouraged to avoid areas where protests are taking place. Protests not directly targeting the U.S. Embassy do not involve U.S. interests. 

Post-specific Concerns

Drug-related Crimes

Drug-related crime takes place in Ireland. Overall, drug offenses were up in 2017 compared to 2016. Most drug offenses were concentrated in Dublin due to the population density of Dublin County.

Police Response

Police response times are typically slower than in the U.S. Police response to crime is generally adequate and timely within the larger urban areas, especially Dublin. These times are considerably slower in the more rural areas of Ireland. 

Crime Victim Assistance

Emergency notification of the Garda or other emergency services (police, fire, ambulance, coast guard) can be made by calling either 999 or 112 from any phone including mobiles.

For local first responders, please refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.

Police/Security Agencies

An Garda Síochána is Ireland’s sole provider of policing, law enforcement, and state security. It is comprised of nearly 14,500 members as of January 2017.

Medical Emergencies

In a medical emergency, calling 999 or 112 will dispatch an ambulance anywhere in Ireland. The ambulance service will take patients to the closest suitable hospital. There are six 24-hour-service hospitals in Dublin with a bed capacity of approximately 3,000 patients. Emergency room services tend to be oversubscribed; patients can expect waits up to 12 hours before being seen. Outside of Dublin, most major cities have a hospital; consultation with emergency services to locate the nearest medical facility is recommended.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

For medical assistance, please refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Response time for air medical evacuation is approximately 4-6 hours. The closest commercial evacuation service is located at Heathrow International Airport, in London, which can be contacted at: +44-181-897-6185.

Insurance Guidance

Hospitals do not accept American insurance as coverage. Patients are expected to pay all costs up-front at the time of treatment and apply for reimbursement later.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Ireland.

OSAC Country Council Information

The Country Council in Dublin is active, meeting twice per year. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

U.S. Embassy Ireland, 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4

Regular business hours: 0730-1630

Embassy Contact Numbers

Switchboard: +353-01-630-6200

Website: https://ie.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling to Ireland should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.

Additional Resources

Ireland Country Information Sheet

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