Australia has warned its citizens about increasing tensions in Ireland between dissident republicans and unionists around the 1916 Rising centenary.
In updated travel advice issued this week, people travelling to the country have been warned of the risk of protests turning violent, including those associated with Northern Ireland.
“Tensions between dissident republicans and unionists have increased in the lead up to the centenary of the Easter Rising (24-29 April – Proclamation of Irish independence),” Australian diplomats said.
“You should avoid all protests and demonstrations, including those associated with Northern Ireland, as they may turn violent. Instances of civil disorder can rapidly escalate into violence and you should avoid them wherever possible, including through careful monitoring of the media and following the advice of local authorities.”
The notice was added to the advice on the Australian government’s smartraveller online portal, run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Its general advice on Ireland is to exercise normal safety precautions – essentially using the same common sense you would when at home.
It says there is a moderate incidence of serious and violent crime, car theft and break-ins are increasing, especially in Dublin, and tourist locations and rental cars are particularly targeted.
On its specific advice for travel to Northern Ireland it said the threat of terrorism was severe, compared with moderate in England, Wales and Scotland.
“In recent years, Northern Ireland-related terrorist groups have used firearms and explosives to target police and military, and occasionally commercial interests such as banks and local businesses. Civilians have been injured in these attacks,” it said.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said it would not comment on the travel advice issued by another government.
But a spokesman said: “When compared to the number of tourists entering the country, Ireland is a very safe destination and the rate of crime against tourists is quite low.
“Research has shown that the vast majority of our overseas visitors are more than happy to subsequently recommend Ireland as a holiday destination.”