Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs is facing heavy criticism is response to its failed efforts to evacuate Irish citizens from Libya.

Irish who were trying to flee from Libya have said that the department advised them to book flights online or through a travel agent, even though the Internet was blocked and it was unsafe to travel to tourist agencies.

The crisis in the north African country has world powers searching for a way to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from attacking his people in the growing protests. International diplomats say some 2,000 or more people have been killed.

On Saturday, seven Irish citizens, including a family of four, had been evacuated from Libya. An Air Corps aircraft carrying the evacuees landed at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel on a flight from Malta, according to RTE.

Efforts to evacuate the remaining Irish from Libya are continuing, but, according to David Cooney, the General Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland, communications are proving to be an obstacle.

There are 21 Irish citizens still in Tripoli and six others in other parts of the country.