A Cork man is desperately trying to bring his wife and sick daughter home to Ireland but has been told it could take more than five months.
Mark Lane has not seen his wife Marjo and daughter Erin in around nine months, since he left the Philippines to build a new life for them here in Ireland.
He has been told it could take around five months to get visas for his wife Marjo, whom he met in the Philippines, and his 11-month-old daughter Erin.
Meanwhile, they are living in “constant danger”, he said. The Philippines has suffered dengue fever outbreaks, forest fires, and earthquakes in recent months.
Erin was recently admitted to hospital, suspected of having the mosquito-borne illness which has killed more than 600 in the Philippines since January.
However, doctors discovered that Erin was suffering from pneumonia and she has since been discharged but Mark is still desperate to bring his family to Ireland.
“My daughter is at home after recovering from pneumonia — she’s safe from that now,” he said. “But there’s still the fear of the Dengue Fever, earthquakes, forest fires, everything really. It’s a huge fear.
“She’s suffering because she can’t cope with the heat — she’s getting the flu constantly because of the air conditioning inside and the heat outside. My wife is also getting sick because she’s not used to the air conditioning.”
Erin will turn one on September 8 and Mark said he is devastated to be missing his daughter’s first birthday.
“Her birthday is in three weeks and I’m going to miss it,” he said. “I’ve missed seeing her grow up since she was two months old because that’s when I left to come to Ireland in the hope of bringing them here.
Mark admitted that he had very little idea as to how much documentation and work was needed to gain a visa to Ireland.
He spent four months with his wife in Australia shortly after they were married in December 2017, visiting his sister. The visa process to visit Australia for the visit took just two working days.
“There must be thousands of people applying to enter Australia,” said Mark. “Yet we heard back two days later.
“Meanwhile here in Ireland, they’re saying it’s going to take at least five months. It’s heartbreaking.”
In an email to Mark, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service explained that applications can take up to five months and that it is impossible to jump the queue “unless there are extremely urgent reasons requiring immediate travel”.
“My family is living in an area of high dengue fever concentration — an epidemic,” Mark explained.
“There has been two earthquakes in recent months along with forest fires hundreds of yards from their doorstep. What more do they need to be an emergency case?” .
“I told the department that I understand there’s a queue. “I understand there are probably people from America, Canada, and other places looking to come here to Ireland.
“But not everyone is in the same predicament as my wife and daughter. It’s crucial that their application is sped up.”
Mark has been working with Cork politicians Donnchadh O’Laoghaire of Sinn Féin and Tánaiste Simon Coveney of Fine Gael in the hope of speeding the process up.
“The last I heard was Donnchadh O’Laoghaire’s office and Simon Coveney’s office said they would try again,” said Mark.
“We’re working hard to push forward the application but I’ve heard nothing new from the Department since last Monday.
“Mark said that he has everything ready here in Cork to build a brand new life for his new family.
“I have a lovely house in Carrigaline ready and waiting,” he said. “I’ve decorated my daughter’s room and everything, all pink and with Minnie Mouse all over.
“I’ve even been told that there is work available here for my wife if she wants to work in the future. It’s all here ready and waiting. I just need my family now.”