The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided consular assistance to over 2,300 Irish citizens in 2015, including practical support to the families of 263 people who were killed while abroad.

There was an increase of 21% in the number of cases of support for bereaved family members, when compared with 2014.

The department assisted over 800 Irish citizens who were caught up in crises abroad last year.

Commenting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said: “Demand for frontline services across the globe increased sharply over the past year, as did the complexity of cases handled.

“For example, there was an increase in over 20% in both the number of serious medical/hospitalisation cases as well as, very sadly, the number of cases of Irish citizens who died while abroad.”

Mr Flanagan added that “the most serious tragedy occurred in Berkeley, where six students, five Irish and one Irish-American, lost their lives and a further seven Irish students were injured.

“We also witnessed the horrific loss of life in the terrorist attacks at Sousse, Tunisia, and injury in the later Paris atrocities.”

The Department's Consular Division and mission network provided authentication services for 54,982 educational certificates, legal documents and company documents in 2015.

It also issued 2,835 civil letters of freedom to Irish citizens getting married or entering civil partnerships abroad, with the five most popular countries being Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and Germany.