It's wise to keep yourself up-to-speed on the political/social changes of the regions you intend to visit. Check with your home country Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or Embassy.
Some useful links:
Australian Travel Advisory Service http://www.smartraveller.gov.au
Canadian Consular Affairs: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/sos/warnings-en.asp
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx
New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs: http://safetravel.govt.nz/
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office: http://www.fco.gov.uk/
US Department of State: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html