Advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs updating the status in Egypt.
If you’re travelling to Egypt, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
Updated: 12 March 2014
We are currently advising against all non-essential travel to Egypt.
Latest travel advice
Due to an increased risk of civil unrest and a heightened threat of terrorist incidents, Irish citizens are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Egypt at this time including Sharm El-Sheikh and the rest of the Sinai with the following exceptions:
- the Red Sea costal resort of Hurghada and other Red Sea resorts outside the Sinai peninsula, where Irish citizens are advised to arrive and depart by air and to strictly avoid travelling outside the resort;
- Luxor and Aswan (including cruises between them) where Irish citizens are advised to exercise caution and arrive and depart by air.
On 16 February 2014 a bomb attack on a tourist bus in the vicinity of the Hilton Hotel in Taba in the South Sinai resulted in four deaths and multiple injuries. In recent months numerous bomb attacks have taken place across Egypt including in Cairo and there is a high risk of further attacks over the coming period as the country prepares for Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Previous incidents have specifically targeted police/military and government installations, but a number of civilians have also been killed or injured in these attacks. The Sinai-based jihadist group responsible for the most serious of these attacks has issued a warning that it intends to widen its operations to include economic targets. Given these developments there is a high risk that future attacks may be indiscriminate in nature or specifically target places frequented by foreigners such as international hotels or tourist resorts.
Irish citizens already in Egypt are urged to remain vigilant and monitor local media for updates on the security situation. Irish citizens should also take sensible precautions with regard to their movements at this time, avoiding large crowds where possible and all travel to the vicinity of major security/police or government buildings. If you are already in a tourist resort you should not leave the resort without consulting your local tour operator.
A heavy security presence on the streets, including security checkpoints on key routes at night, is to be expected and this may result in delays and disruption to travel routes. Irish citizens should ensure that that they carry valid i.d. with them at all times.
Since the removal of former President Muhammed Morsi from office in July 2013 there have been frequent political protests and demonstrations across the country involving violent clashes with the security forces and/or opponents resulting in a large number of deaths and injuries.
On 25 December 2013 the Government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and announced that participation in protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters would from now on carry an automatic minimum prison sentence of five years. A new law introduced by the interim Government on 24 November 2013 effectively bans all protests from taking place without prior official approval.
Despite these developments, protests and demonstrations continue to take place. The constitutional referendum held on 14/15 January 2014 witnessed protests and violent clashes in many parts of the country resulting in at least a dozen deaths and more than 400 arrests. Some forty nine people were killed and over 1000 arrested during protests coinciding with the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution on 25 January 2014. Estimates put the number of people killed in clashes with the security forces since July 2013 at more than 1400.
Protests and demonstrations can turn violent with little warning. Reports also indicate a high number of serious sexual assaults against women during demonstrations. Furthermore, as a result of recent legislative changes anyone participating in protests or demonstrations can expect to receive a lengthy prison sentence. For these reasons, we strongly advise Irish citizens who are currently in Egypt to avoid all protests and demonstrations and to monitor this travel advice and the local media for updates on the security situation. If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should not attempt to take photographs and should leave the area immediately.
Recent months have seen a serious escalation in the number of security incidents in Sinai, some of them involving tourists. In addition military operations against militants are under way in Northern Sinai. We strongly advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai including the Taba-Suez Road where the security situation is extremely dangerous. We also advise against all non-essential travel to South Sinai including Sharm El Sheikh at this time.
Irish citizens should be aware that sectarian tensions have in the past resulted in attacks on Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic extremists including in August and October 2013.
Register with us
If you’re visiting or planning to stay in Egypt, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like civil disturbances a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Egypt before your trip.
We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Contact the Embassy
If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Cairo.
If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:
- Your name
- The nature of your problem
- Where you are now
- Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)
We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.
How we can help you
We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.