To all Filipinos and Friends of the Philippines,

I would first like to sincerely thank both Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippine Government, Albert F. Del Rosario and the Philippine Ambassador to Britain and Ireland His Excellency Enrique A. Manalo for appointing me as Honorary Consul of the Philippines for Ireland.

I am deeply honoured and indeed privileged to have been appointed to this prestigious position.

May I say I am intensely aware of the wonderful contribution that the Filipinos have made to Irish Society over many decades across all sections of the Community. I can truly say as an Irish man born in Dublin that I have had nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for the strong work ethic, warm, engaging and happy can do attitude that the Filipinos always exude whether in a working environment such as our many hospitals across the country, the engineering sector and in many other sectors of industry. 

I have in the past played tennis against several Filipinos and while always competitive games it was always played in an atmosphere of fun, win or lose, (I generally lost !!)

I was officially appointed as Honorary Consul yesterday, Saturday the 2nd March 2013 at 12.30pm by his Excellency Enrique A. Manalo. This was witnessed by a small audience of UK Embassy Officials,Filipino Community leaders, my Consular team and of course my wonderfully supportive family. I asked for this to be concluded at our First ever Outreach programme organised by my Consular team. I wanted to share the proud moment with all the Filipinos who were there on the day so both his Excellency and I made a speech to all at the Outreach Programme to thank everyone for their attendance and support while we work hard to get the Consular office up and running to provide as feasibly as possible an efficient service while recognising we do not receive any financial funding from the Philippine Government.

My sincere aim is to help where possible, resolve major issues with the UK Embassy / Manila as quickly as possible and provide a truly meaningful support to you all in the Filipino Community. My first task is to secure a Consular Office then launch a website which will clearly denote what our Consular office can and cannot do under the authority of the Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs.

I will work strenuously to insure our operational infrastructure is in place as quickly as possible, so please watch our Facebook page for further updates as we move ahead.

For those who attended the Outreach Programme I hope you enjoyed the surroundings, entertainment and refreshments provided by my Consular team. I wanted to clearly demonstrate that myself and my Consular team have every intention of being as professional and courteous as possible while insuring we achieve our goal of processing as many applications as possible in the time kindly afforded us by the UK embassy.

For now having taken soundings at the Outreach Programme the obvious issue for me to address quickly is the backlog of passports. While my Consular office does not have any authority to issue passports I will work quickly and stringently with both the UK Embassy and Manila to address some difficult technical IT issues that are seriously restricting the volume of passports that can be processed at any one time. I am determined that a solution will be found quickly as it is unacceptable in my mind that there is unnecessary hardship and obvious intense stress caused by this delay. Fortunately I am an Entrepeneur and have built many successful business operations both in Ireland and in many locations from New York to Moscow and elsewhere around the world so I am confident that my experience will help to resolve and create a more definitive process to better serve the Filipino Community but again i must stress within very tight budget constraints and under the powers afforded me by the Philippine Government but we will do our BEST I sincerely promise you that.

As they say watch this space we will be back in touch soon and can assure you of more regular updates and meaningful communication as we progress. 

My mission statement with your kind help and support is to create the most efficient Consular Office of the Philippines, no small task so let’s do it together by being positive, proactive and affording understanding and patience as we endeavour to get a firm grasp of the issues that need to be addressed.

May I lastly take this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Enrique A Manalo on receiving his credentials for his appointment as Ambassador to Ireland and also to thank him for all his hard work this week as he had an extremely busy schedule of appointments in Ireland from meetings with President Higgins to Government Ministers, Filipino Community Leaders and different heads of government departments. All of which were a superb success to create building blocks for the future integration of 
co-operation between the Philippines and Ireland. May I also thank the UK embassy staff who were consummate professionals and worked very hard while here in facilitating their employers at the Outreach Programme i.e. YOU the Filipino Community. Last but by no means least may I also sincerely thank my Consular team at the Outreach Programme who without them none of this would have been possible. They were:

Raymond Garrett- Director of Operations.
Cian Congdon – Dupty Director of Communications

Donna Garrett, Daryl O Brien, Rita Forde – Volunteers.

Salamat at Mabuhay!
Yours in Friendship,
Mark Christopher Congdon,

Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines for the Republic of Ireland.