The Department of Justice dealt with 147 new cases of child abduction last year, five more than 2011, according to figures released today.

In total, the department dealt with 276 cases last year, with 129 having been carried over from the year before.

192 children are involved in the 147 new cases, with 64 concerning applications into the State from other countries while 83 concerned applications from the State to other countries.

Of the 147 new applications received by the Irish Central Authority, 68 involved the United Kingdom; 14 involved Poland; 12 involved Latvia; 36 involved other European countries and 17 other contracting states.

Of the 129 cases still active from the previous year, 60 were incoming and 69 outgoing.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said: "Parental child abduction continues to be a worrying problem.

"Mediation remains the best way for estranged parents and spouses to resolve their differences and reach lasting agreements that work in the best interests of the children involved."