Minister Ahern said: "As part of my commitment to providing a first class consular service to Irish fans attending major sporting events abroad, I am pleased to announce the opening of a temporary consulate in Bordeaux from September 7-17. This will ensure that fans attending Ireland's World Cup matches in that city against Namibia and Georgia on September 9 and 15 will have access to a wide range of consular services. Our Embassy in Paris will also be available on a 24-hour basis to assist Irish fans attending the matches against France and Argentina on September 21 and 30 as well as any additional matches involving Ireland."
The Minister continued: "In addition to this consular response, the Embassy in Paris is organising a number of public events to celebrate Ireland's participation in the World Cup. These include: a concert in the Rugby Village in Bordeaux on September 15, a visit by the Irish naval vessel L.E. Eithne to Bordeaux on September 15 and 16, and an open day at the recently restored Embassy of Ireland in Paris on September 22."
The Minister also said that he would send extra consular and passport staff to Bratislava and Prague for Ireland's soccer matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic on September 8 and 12. Irelandâ00s Embassies in both cities will be providing 24-hour coverage to cater for any consular difficulties which may arise.
Wishing Ireland's rugby and soccer teams every success, Minister Ahern said: "I am confident that the coming weeks will be hugely enjoyable and successful for players and fans alike."
The Minister urged Irish fans to read and take with them the detailed practical advice for the World Cup and Euro 2008 qualifiers now available on the Department of Foreign Affairs website: http://www.dfa.ie/. The advice also includes details of Embassy/Consulate opening hours and contact numbers.