It is big news when Ireland has to close an embassy, and of course we should be opening more and more throughout the world, if our finances would permit.
Now I feel sad for the Philippine Community in Ireland and of course sad for the loss of the very fine team of Diplomats and Staff in the Philippine Embassy in Dublin, which closed in July 2012.
The Philippine community will be losing a most beautiful, generous and professional Charge d’Affaires, Hjayceelyn Quintana, but Ireland’s loss will be some other country's gain.
As a former member of the Eastern Health Board, subsequently the Eastern Regional Health Authority, and henceforth known as the HSE, I have retained vivid memories of the huge shortage of staff in our hospitals; I advocated at the time that we should recruit Filipino staff, as I was aware of their professionalism and high standard of education.
Subsequently, hospitals and other agencies began recruiting overseas, and to this day Ireland has had the pleasure of having a diverse range of staff from around the world, including the Philippines.
Because of my prior involvement on the Board of Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin and St. James Hospital, I witnessed at first hand the dedication and professionalism of Filipino staff members.
It has always been my pleasure to attend events with the Filipino community and I am delighted to see how well Filipino people have integrated into Irish Society, due in no small part to the organisational excellence displayed.
The contribution of Filipino people to Irish society has been, and will continue to be, hugely important.
Their patriotism and generosity of spirit is something that I will never forget. See some pictures taken at the Annual event to celebrate Independence Day.