Bush fires, flash floods, and fatal mosquito-borne diseases are just some of the highlights of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ travel advisory for Australia.
Communication difficulties are also on the danger list with warnings the police are not big on exercising discretion with lawbreakers and don’t appreciate a roadside comedy act.
“What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.”
And those are minor worries for there’s also the possibility of terror attacks. “The Australian government terrorism public alert level is at ‘probable’,” the department points out.
The same day Australia updated its travel advisory on Ireland, it also published its “Improvised Explosive Device Guidelines for Places of Mass Gathering” to help Australians be prepared for bomb attacks in crowded public areas such as transport hubs, shopping centres, and sporting arenas.
Suddenly, a warning to avoid protests associated with 1916 commemorations sounds very tame.
But tourism interests here aren’t interested in a tit-for-tat war of warnings — they just want to get the record set straight on Ireland’s safety as a destination.
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, said the warning was surprising. “There is no increased security risk relating to Australian visitors. No other country and no other department of foreign affairs has any concerns,” he said.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing the intelligence behind it because it could certainly be argued against.”
Some 210,000 Australians came here last year and it is a growing market. Fáilte Ireland said its sister agency, Tourism Ireland, would work on the ground in Australia to counter any negative publicity.