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Missing abroad

When someone you know goes missing it can be traumatic, distressing and uncertain. It can be difficult to know where to begin and what to do. Try and remain calm. Remember that the majority of people reported missing, within Ireland and internationally, are found safe. The individual circumstances when a family member or friend is missing overseas vary greatly, much like someone going missing in Ireland. However, the difficulties that arise can be further complicated by a range of factors, including: distance, borders, language and customs. It is not possible to address every factor that might arise, however, it is hoped that the information included here will provide some assistance.

Making a missing persons report in Ireland - If you have concerns for a family member or friend who is travelling overseas and normally resides in Ireland, you can make a missing persons report to the Garda station where you live. If the missing person is an Irish citizen but resides overseas, a missing persons report may also be made by family or friends at the nearest Garda station in Ireland, regardless of where the person went missing.

Visiting a Garda station to report someone as missing can be a daunting and unsettling experience; however it is your legal right to do so. You do not have to wait 24 hours to file a missing person’s report. The sooner you notify the Gardai that your loved one is missing, the sooner they will be able to initiate their Missing Person protocols.

No one will care about your missing person more than you, so make sure that you follow up with all relevant agencies on a regular basis for an update on progress, especially in the early stages. Don’t assume that once you have notified local Gardai that everything is in train. Expect that at times you may be the conduit between different agencies to make things happen.

Garda/Police report

When you attend a Garda station to report someone missing abroad, it will help if you can provide the following information, where possible:

  • A recent photo of the person.

  • A detailed description of the person, including height, weight, age, hair colour, eye colour, build, and any other distinguishing features.

  • The person’s full name, including any aliases or nicknames they use.

  • Date and place of birth.

  • Address in Ireland and overseas, phone numbers, email accounts, social network accounts (for example, Facebook).

  • License and passport details.

  • Last known address overseas, and the country in which the person is believed to be missing.

  • Description of the time and place they were last seen, clothes last seen wearing, people they were last sighted with, and where they were heading.

  • Travel itinerary of probable destinations.

  • Details of any transport being used, including car registration number, make, model, hire company or any other transport the person may be using, such as a motorbike, bicycle, train, bus.

  • Names and known contact details of fellow travellers.

  • Contact details for relatives, friends and work colleagues overseas.

  • When and how you last had contact, for example last social media contact, last telephone call/text/ email/letter.

  • Contact details of the missing person’s doctor, dentist or any other health practitioner.

  • Any medical conditions or medication requirements.

  • Bank, credit card or other financial accounts.

  • DSP benefits or other benefits they may have been receiving.

  • Description of previous missing episodes, the circumstances and where they were found.

  • Any behavioural changes, personal, medical or emotional problems they may have experienced before they went missing.

  • Any factors that give you concern for their current wellbeing.

Keep a record of the Garda report.

It may be helpful to record the following information:

Garda reference number for the investigation - Garda station, name and contact details of the Garda who takes the report. After a report has been lodged and accepted, Gardai may contact Interpol if deemed appropriate, Interpol may facilitate international cooperation in investigating the whereabouts of the missing person.

 

Missing abroad – Consular assistance from the Dept of Foreign Affairs

(as published in Information Guide for families and friends of Missing Persons issued December 2022)

The Department of Foreign Affairs is regularly contacted by families and friends of Irish citizens who are concerned for the whereabouts of their loved ones abroad. The Department advises family members or friends who may have particular concerns, to make a missing person report at their local Garda Station.

An Garda Siochana engages with Interpol which transmits Missing Persons reports to the Interpol Central Bureau of the country in which the individual is presumed missing and liaises with the relevant authorities of that country – investigations into Missing Persons in other jurisdictions are generally the responsibility of Police services.

  • How to access Consular support

The Department of Foreign Affairs and its diplomatic offices abroad can liaise with the relevant authorities of other jurisdictions to make enquiries about the progress of a case, where appropriate. Many Missing Persons cases are resolved quickly, however a small number of cases may result in full investigations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs can be contacted for Consular assistance Monday to Friday, from 09.00 – 17.00 on 01 408 2527 or in case of emergency outside office hours, on 01 408 2000.

Additional information is available at www.dfa.ie/travel/assistance-abroad/missing-person/

The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Charter outlines the type of help the Department can provide and is available at 222.dfa.ie/travel/our-services/consular-assistance-charter.

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