Thousands of Irish and British holidaymakers stranded in Egypt

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Tourists walk by the beach at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh
Tourists walk by the beach at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh

Thousands of Irish and British holidaymakers are stranded in Egypt amid mounting evidence a Russian airliner was downed by a bomb.

A host of travel operators have responded to warnings by grounding flights to the popular destination Sharm el-Sheikh. 
At least 179 Irish people have been left stranded in the country amid terrorism fears.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last night issued a warning to tourists and airlines regarding travelling in the region. 
"Irish citizens in Sharm el Sheikh are advised to exercise a high degree of caution and to avoid travelling outside the resort.
"Irish citizens intending to fly into/out of Sharm el Sheikh should note the direction issued by the Irish Aviation Authority on 5 November to Irish airline operators not to operate to/from Sharm el Sheikh airport or in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula airspace until further notice. 
"Irish citizens are advised to avoid-non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to a heightened threat of terrorist incidents, including targeted attacks against foreigners, and a continuing threat of civil unrest."
As a result thousands of tourists have been left stranded in the country amid growing uncertainty regarding the downing of a Russian passenger plane last week. The flight to St Petersburg goes down in an area of northern Sinai where Egyptian security forces have for years fought local Islamic militants who in recent months claimed allegiance to the extremist Islamic State (IS) group. 
EasyJet, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook and British Airways are among the companies which have cancelled all flights to and from the Red Sea resort, several until next Thursday, following the UK Foreign Office's (FO) warning against "all but essential" travel.
Travel agent association Abta has estimated there are at least 9,000 Britons on holiday at the resort and advised passengers who were stranded or were booked to go in the next few days to contact their tour operator.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is urging Irish citizens to register before travelling to the region. 
"If you’re visiting or planning to stay in Egypt, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like civil disturbances a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad.
"And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family."
The last chartered flights to Red Sea resorts and other Egyptian tourist spots left Ireland in mid-October and are understood to have returned, while the next planned service for holidaymakers is on Christmas Eve.
No scheduled flights operate out of Dublin to Cairo or other Egytian destinations at this time of year, aviation chiefs said.