'It is breaking my heart every day': Cork man pleads to be reunited with Filipino wife and daughter

'It is breaking my heart every day': Cork man pleads to be reunited with Filipino wife and daughter
Mark Lane and his wife Marjo

An Irish man who has not been able to see his Filipino wife and child in nine months because of delays in obtaining a visa for them in Ireland is pleading with the authorities here to speed up their case amid concerns for their safety.

Mark Lane, 42, who lives in Carrigaline, Co Cork has been married to his wife Marjo for two years.

Their daughter Erin has an Irish passport.

The visa processing time has now been delayed for another five months.

His 10-month-old daughter Erin has been bitten by a mosquito and he fears she may have Dengue fever. The fever has claimed hundreds of lives.

Marjo and Erin are without running water and there have been a number of earthquakes in the area.

Mark met Marjo on a chatroom site and they Skyped for hours on end over a six-month period.

Marjo was in Hong Kong working as a nanny and the pair struck up a long-distance relationship.

They met in person and eventually married in 2017 with Mark taking a year leave of absence from work to go live in the Philippines.

He had to leave to return to work in Ireland when Erin was just two months old.

In an interview with the Neil Prendeville show on Cork's Red FM Mr Lane said he failed to realise how complex the paperwork is for Irish nationals who marry persons from overseas.

"The hardest day of my life was leaving them (his family) last November. I had to come back to work.

"My year was up. I was leaving on a ferry to go to the airport and I just wanted to be like someone in the movies jumping off the boat saying 'I am not leaving'.

"I have a fantastic wife and a perfect daughter. I couldn't believe this was happening.

"I emailed so many politicians. Only two of the twelve got back to me."

Mark went to the Citizens Advice Bureau who told him that because he was out of the country for a year he would need to build up six months in payslips and bank statements to prove his residency in this country.

"I couldn't believe it. I went to a solicitor and he told me the same. I had to do all that before my wife could apply.

"I got all the documents to prove we are a proper family. I got over 100 pages of paperwork which I had to send to Manila.

Marjo and Erin
Marjo and Erin

"The Irish consulate in Manila said they wanted two copies of everything. I did all of that.

"A week later they sent all the paperwork to the closest Irish embassy in Singapore. Another week later they sent it to the visa officers in Dublin.

"That took another month and a half. It could take longer than five months or it could be denied for some reason."

Mark is very anxious about the region where his family live.

"They have been through two earthquakes and a forest fire 500 yards away. They have had no running water since May.

"Erin is 11 months old and is running around. Erin says 'where is daddy?' and she waves. I haven't held her in nine months.

We missed our first Christmas as a family. Our first Easter, Erin's first words and steps. It is breaking my heart and all because of paperwork.

"I know paperwork has to be done but I am worried about the mosquito epidemic in the Philippines."

Mr Lane said he considered staying in the Phillippines. However, he knows that the family would have a more secure future in Ireland.

Erin has also inherited her father's pale complexion and is not able to go out in the sun for long periods.

Marjo saved up money from her work as a nanny so that she could contribute to their living costs.

The couple are saving and are everything they can to make their dream life in Ireland a reality.

Mark says all he wants to do is board a plane to see them but he knows that if he leaves Ireland he is back to "square one."

"It will be €2,500 to collect them to come home. It is breaking my heart that the two of them are in danger.

"I should have organised it better from the start. It is my fault.

"I should have realised that my wife needed a visa for Ireland. It is breaking my heart every day.

"We won't be a burden on the State. I am working overtime."

Representations are being made to the Department of Foreign Affairs in a bid to have the family reunited as soon as possible.

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