05 May 2008

Filipino fishermen abused in Ireland

It is embarrasing for someone like myself, an Irish priest who has been in the Philippines most of the time since 1971, to read about Filipino workers being maltreated in Ireland. But it is consoling to know that a brother-Columban, along with some of the Philippines community in Northern Ireland, were able to come to their aid.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer today (5 May 2008) carries a report of the Filipino crew of an Irish fishing vessel who returned home after being helped by the Filipino community in Northern Ireland. The Tagalog-speaking Irish priest mentioned, but whose name isn't given, is Columban Father Donal Bennett who worked for many years in Zambales, Philippines. You can read the full story at http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20080504-134499/11-seamen-who-fled-from-abuse-in-Ireland-repatriated

The police force mentioned in the story is the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), as distinct from the police in the Republic of Ireland known as An Garda Síochána or the Gardaí (gardhEE). The figure of 11,500 Filipinos given by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, includes only the Republic of Ireland. The number in Northern Ireland is probably about half of that. The Filipinos best known to Irish people are nurses, whose presence is highly appreciated.

Columban Father Bobby Gilmore is in charge of the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) in Dublin. He has worked in the Philippines, Jamaica and in Britain where he was among those who worked hard for the release of the 'Guildford Four' and the 'Birmingham Six'.

Father Patrick O'Connell CSsR, another 'old Philippines hand', is chaplain to the Filipino community in the Archdiocese of Dublin, though he doesn't confine himself to there. These are his contact details:

Marianella, Orwell Rd. Rathgar, Dublin 6.Phone: 01 4067232 or 086 6049889

There is a monthly Mass for Filipinos in Dublin:

Blessed Sacrament Chapel: 3pm on 2nd Sunday of every month.

However, Filipinos are active in many parishes and in some they have started choirs.

Father Patrick O'Herlihy, a Columban who worked in the Philippines for many years, is chaplain to the Filipinos in the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

There is a Filipino Mass every First Saturday of the month in Our Lady Crowned Church, Upper Mayfield, Cork at 7pm.

Contact: Fr Pat O'Herlihy SSC. Tel: 021 4508610 or 087 2284284.
Email: columbancork@gmail.com

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