Bulgaria strengthens links with north by opening Belfast consulate

Paul Martin

BULGARIA has opened an honorary consulate in Belfast.

The office at Landmark House in Cromac Street will be headed by Magherafelt man Paul Martin.

As well as being the main contact point for Bulgaria's Embassy in the UK and the Bulgarian community in Northern Ireland, he will facilitate cultural and business ties between the two countries.

The opening is seen as contributing to strengthening bilateral contacts in the field of business and culture as well as to assist Bulgarian citizens in the context of the consequences of Brexit.

Mr Martin takes up the position following a prestigious public service career spanning 38 years which saw him rise to the position of chief social services officer for the NI Assembly.

It was following his retirement in 2008 that he established links with Bulgaria when he was appointed as NI-CO's EU resident twinning adviser to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in Sofia, working closely with government bodies and NGOs in the region.

In 2009 he was appointed CBE by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the advancement of social services and child care.

Mr Martin said: “I'm honoured to be offered this appointment and look forward to doing what I can to assist Bulgarian citizens who come to visit, work or reside here. I will also endeavour to promote trade and business links as well as promoting cultural, tourism and cultural exchanges.”

Teofana Kraynina, Bulgaria's deputy head of mission to the UK, said: “I'm very pleased that Mr Martin has accepted this position and I'm confident he will represent and promote Bulgaria's interests in Northern Ireland with dedication and professionalism.”

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