ELEVEN Irish citizens have vanished without trace while living or holidaying abroad since 2003, the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

The department said that its embassies or consulates overseas had been contacted on almost a dozen separate occasions over recent years, including in relation to the notorious case of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick.

In most of the cases, it is understood, the person's whereabouts remain un-known. On some occasions, it is believed that the person who disappeared had deliberately chosen to cut off links with family or friends.

However, some of those logged as disappeared are believed to have been abducted or died in other tragic circumstances, without their bodies ever being recovered.

The biggest number of missing person reports came from Spain with three persons reported missing, including cases from January 2008, May 2009 and September 2009.

The most infamous of those is the unexplained disappearance of 15-year-old Amy Fitzpatrick from her home in Spain on New Year's Day in 2008.

Two other missing person reports were also filed with the embassy in France, one in each of May 2009 and July 2009.

Single reports of Irish citizens vanishing without trace were also logged in Australia (May 2009), Estonia (May 2008), Hungary (July 2009), Holland (October 2008), Nepal (May 2003), and the US (April 2010).