The first meeting-consultation held in St. Joseph Parish (Berkeley Rd) conference room with 18 Filipino work permit holders and organised by UK-based Centre For Filipinos, which at that time there were many reported cases of work exploitation, abuses, bullying and work permits not being renewed. The data collected was submitted to the Philippine Embassy UK for follow-up and further action.
29 November 2002
The first Filipino Nurses’ Forum held in Mater Public and attended by Philippine Embassy-UK Labour Attaché Victor Ablan. He revealed the plan the Philippine government to put up a labour attaché office in Ireland due to high demand for Filipino workers and nurses.
13 July 2003
Community meeting with Ambassador Cesar Bautista and his consular team in Blessed Sacrament Hall and Finlater’s Church. The Embassy continued to pursue major work-related issues of Filipinos in Ireland namely, dependents’ eligibility for work, nurses’ renewal of work contracts, employment rights of work permit holders. The first absentee voting registration was held with 253 registrants.
21 November 2003
The first Filipino Nurses Convention held in Mater Hospital and organised by League of Filipino Nurses. Topics discussed: Filipino nurses’ needs and educational experiences, family reunification, racism and discrimination in the workplace, policies and practices in Irish healthcare setting.
15 April 2004
DFA Secretary Delia Domingo Albert, the first Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs to visit, met the Health Secretary Mary Harney and Ireland’s President Mary McAleese. She also convened the leaders and community in Teachers’ Club, Dublin in which during the forum, she assured to lobby the Irish government to review its immigration laws so as to pave the way for the permanent stay of Filipinos in Ireland. The need for a resident Philippine mission (embassy) in Ireland was discussed.
2 June 2004
Newly appointed ambassador to UK and Ireland, Edgardo Espiritu met the Filipino community and leaders for a dialogue in Teachers’ Club. He reported the outcome of his meeting with the Irish President, Department Secretaries, business people and said, “We are taking very seriously to heart the situation of Filipinos in Ireland… there is a need to have a more permanent presence of the Philippine government in Dublin such as opening a Resident Mission to provide services to the ever-growing Filipino community.”
11 November 2004
The first Filipino community leaders meeting in Gresham Hotel attended by 18 participants. Issues discussed included how to strengthen the Philippine Consulate in Dublin with the support of different organisations. The leaders agreed to meet in regular basis to create a unified stand for particular issues. Ambassador Espiritu joined later in the meeting and advised the community to begin lobbying the government to provide clearer guidelines on permanent residency status for immigrants and workers.
11 December 2004
The Filipino leaders met in Oslo Bar, Dublin. It was decided that leaders’ meeting was consultative of its nature. Only issues affecting the whole community would be discussed. There was need for greater linkage and networking among the organisations.
From January to June 2005
Filipino leaders meetings and activities were focused on preparation for the 2nd Filipino Day (107th Philippine Independence Day celebration), a two-day event held in RDS and participated in by Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford Filipino community.
Individual consultation was made with different organisations in support of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) campaign on key amendments to the Employment Permits Bills to ensure greater protection, social inclusion and integration of migrant workers and their families in Ireland including dependent spouses to be allowed to get employment and easing the path for short-term family members in applying visit visa.
26 March 2006
The Philippine Embassy UK led by Consul General Mario de Leon, Labour Attache Jainal Rasul and Consul John Ferris met the senior officials of the Department of Justice, Department of Trade and Employment, Department of Health and Children to raise policy developments relating to family reunification, conversions of immigrant status from work permit to working visa, the Employment Permits Bill 2005 and the Immigration and Residence Bill of 2005. The lobbying had a positive impact on Filipino workers in Ireland.
More than hundreds of Filipino nurses have signalled their departure from Ireland by signing-up new jobs in Canada and Australia. Many were frustrated as there was no assurance of Irish citizenship and uncertainty of visa status and future of their dependent children reaching the age of majority.
Many Filipino parents were confronted with high tuition fee for their dependent children accessing third-level education due to cancellation of dependent visa when they reached 18 years of age.
27 April 2007
Ambassador Espiritu, Consul Ferris and the Embassy Team met with the officials from the Department of Education, health and Children, Foreign Affairs and Justice.
At the Filipino community consultation-meeting in Cork and Dublin, the ambassador said there was no immediate solution coming. ’While your contribution to the Irish society was acknowledged, you were not getting the full benefit of such taxes as your children were denied full access to higher education…but we will continue to lobby for you and your children.’
Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to different organisations and to encourage the spirit of volunteering.
17 August 2007
More than a hundred young Filipinos (teenagers) gathered for the first time in Phoenix Park for consultation and exchanging views about their issues and concerns as first generation immigrants in Ireland. Another conference was organised in ATGWU Building Dublin which topics include immigration policies, education, employment, diversity and integration.
31 August 2008
Bishop Precioso Cantillas, the bishop assigned by CBCP for pastoral care for Filipino migrants met the Filipino leaders and community in the Blessed Sacrament meeting room. Issues raised were non-renewal of work permits, temporary visas and the current restriction of children’s dependent visa which had an impact in their schooling and future stay in the State.
He encouraged the leaders to create an umbrella organisation to continue lobbying these concerns. The Filipino Community Network (FCN), the group of different organisation leaders was organised and tasked primarily to do the work of advocacy.
FCN spearheaded series of meetings and consultations on community projects.
29 June 2009
The new Philippine Embassy in Dublin opened with Mr. Ariel Abadilla appointed by president Gloria Arroyo as the first Philippine Ambassador to Ireland.
Between 2009 to 2012
The Philippine Embassy in Dublin met regularly the Filipino community and leaders for mutual support and to initiate common projects such as Paskong Pinoy, Philippine Independence Day celebration, etc.
(Compiled by Michael Ancheta)
Note: Most of these meetings and consultations were successfully done with the help of the Philippine Consulate. Although there were meetings initiated after the Philippine Embassy closed its door in 2012, the minutes and what have transpired were recorded by the respective leaders at that time.
Meeting with POLO-OWWA April 16, 2016
On 16 April 2016, a meeting was held at the outreach between undocumented migrant workers and OWWA where projects to help irregular workers in Ireland were discussed. A meeting between MRCI and OWWA was also held to discuss the new Atypical Work Permit Scheme for undocumented Filipino fishermen in Ireland and to mobilise these fishermen to come forward and avail of the new working scheme before the deadline.
Meeting with POLO-OWWA 6 November 2016
On 6 November 2016, a meeting was held with then Philippine labour attaché Rey Conferido on his first visit to Ireland to discuss issues affecting Filipino migrant workers with Phil Hon Consul in Dublin Mark Congdon, MRCI Centre Coordinator Sancha Magat and Phil Hon Consulate Dublin Director of Operations Raymond Garrett. He came to on his second visit in November 2017 where migrant workers who availed of OWWA benefits and recruitment agencies shared their concerns.
Solidarity Meetings 2018
The Filipino Council of Leaders Ireland held Solidarity Meetings with the former consul to ensure strong, meaningful dialogue create a harmonious relationship across Filipino groups and communities in Ireland and create a dynamic and unified platform with strong goals and ambitions for all Filipinos in Ireland.
27 May 2017
Filipino-Irish Community Forum: Meeting and Consultation on 27 May 2017, Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Lucan, Co Dublin
Community leaders and members discussed their common concerns as Filipino community in Ireland and to understand better vital issues affecting the community.
The discussion covered:
- To share our hopes and aspirations for our community taking into account the growing number of first-generation children
- To provide vision and direction for our Filipino Irish community and to come up with strategic programme that benefits us all;
- To find out on-going activities specific to groups and associations and how we support each other;
- To come up with attainable projects to be undertaken by the community in the coming years (eg. pastoral and faith development programme for children, Filipino school – Munting Paaralan, etc)
- To determine better representation of Filipino Irish community in the Irish society.
Filipino Migrant Worker Issues in Ireland 2019 – A Focus Group Discussion
A focus group discussion was organised by Outreach Ireland on the 26ht of April 2019. See link http://cavan4c.ie/filipino-migrant-worker-issues-in-ireland-2019-a-focus-group-discussion