Qatar's Irish residents are dealing with isolation after a number of Arab countries cut off diplomatic relations and accused its government of providing support for terrorism.
Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Maldives are refusing to deal with Qatar and flights by major airlines in and out of the country have been cancelled. Thousands of concerned residents have flocked to supermarkets to purchase fresh food, most of which comes from Saudi Arabia, over concerns about diminishing supplies.
The country has a large Irish population and millions of people have emigrated to Qatar in recent years in search of work.
Doha-based Evening Echo columnist Denise Hession - originally from Galway but who lived in Cork for many years - said that expats are generally not fearful of their safety but are awaiting updates on the situation with great interest.
“There's a lot of unrest among expats. With no airlines, bar Qatar Airways going out of Qatar, it's a lot of upheaval because people booked with Emirates and Etihad, in particular, are not going," she said.
“There's no milk or chicken today. Everything fresh will be gone in the next few days because everything like that comes from Saudi Arabia by land."
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said Irish citizens should immediately register themselves with his Department online and those with concerns should contact his team in Abu Dhabi.
“Ireland’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi is closely monitoring the developing situation in Qatar and the wider region. My immediate priority is the welfare of Irish citizens in Qatar where there is a growing and active Irish community," he said.
"I have spoken with Ireland’s non-resident Ambassador to Qatar and I remain in close contact with him. Over the weekend the Embassy has been in contact with community leaders in the Irish community and provided updates to Irish community organisations. The Embassy is also responding to calls from Irish citizens in Qatar. I am aware there is some concern about air connectivity. I am advised that Qatar Airways flights are continuing to operate and alternative flight paths are being identified where difficulties may arise in the future. A direct flight between Qatar and Ireland is due to commence later this month."
"Ireland is working closely with our EU partners to protect the interests of EU citizens in the region and thirteen of our partner states have embassies on the ground in Qatar. Any citizen planning to travel to Qatar should consult my Department’s travel advice in advance."
Irish citizens can register with the Department of Foreign Affairs on https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/ or by phoning: + 353 (0) 1 4082527. Those with concerns can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi on 971 (0)2 4958200.