Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that he is deeply concerned at the deteriorating political situation in Qatar.

Commenting on reports he said, “The situation in Qatar remains highly volatile during what appears to be the Gulf region’s worst diplomatic crisis in decades.

“Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. As economic pressure mounts on Qatar, severe disruption to land, sea and air routes to the country continues.

“The fragile situation was further compounded over the weekend when the embargoed State were issued a set of sweeping demands which were imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

He added, “Up to 1,000 Irish citizens live in the area which is currently preparing to host the 2022 World Cup. Ireland does not have an embassy in Qatar and has limited Consulate support, it is therefore vital that we work closely with our EU colleagues with a presence on the ground to protect our citizens.

“I have previously called for a number of dedicated contacts and for adequate resources to be provided by the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade and I reiterate that call.

“The ongoing conflict in Qatar goes to the core of many key challenges in international relations and the often difficult task of grappling to maintain good diplomatic relations in the Middle East.

“Any hope to reach a long-term solution to this gulf crisis is hinged on adopting a measured and realistic approach while encouraging peaceful mediation between the States. The EU must help to play an integral part in advancing that diplomatic solution.

“Tensions in the region have been simmering for some time; however, further inaction stands to heighten the risk of an escalation in the serious dispute.

“As a solution looks likely to take some time, I will continue to raise this issue with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure Irish citizens are protected and that any resources required to support those affected are made readily available,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.