The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has reported that 2011 was an "exceptionally busy" year, providing consular assistance to Irish national overseas.
The Department processed in excess of 8,000 applications for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration. The majority of applications were from citizens of the United States, Britain and South Africa.
Over the last twelve months, the Department provided consular assistance to the families of almost 200 people who died abroad. The Department also dealt with nearly 300 cases of arrest, as well as a number of child abduction cases.
The Department had to respond to crisis situations in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria, as well as to the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. They assisted almost 1,500 Irish citizens following serious consular emergencies overseas, including deaths, arrests, kidnaps, accidents, child abductions, and hospitalizations.
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The highest number of consular emergencies occurred in Spain, followed by Australia, US, Britain, Thailand, France, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates.
A total of 186 Adoption Dossiers were processed and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs. They also issued more than 2,500 Certificat de Coutume (civil letters of freedom) to Irish citizens getting married abroad.