• Subscribe to our newsletter

    Email address

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Newswatch Categories

  • « | Main | »

    Certificate of Irish Heritage coming… soon?

    By Noreen Bowden | May 10, 2011

    The government issued an update on the Certificates of Irish Heritage. The certificate is intended for those who are not citizens but who would like official recognition of their Irish affinity. The initiative was announced in June 2010 by Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, who said at the time that the first recipients would be getting their certificates by the end of last year.

    It’s emerged now that the contract for the project hasn’t been signed, although the company chosen for the project, Fexco, was announced several months ago. Current Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore gave an update through a written answer to a Dáil question. Here’s the exchange (via

    Brendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)

    Question 35: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the introduction of a certificate of Irish heritage; if the process will offer applicants the opportunity to be informed of future initiatives on the marketing of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8910/11]

    Eamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)

    The Certificate of Irish Heritage is in the process of being established by my Department in direct response to a strong demand for such a scheme from those members of our Diaspora who are not entitled to Irish citizenship. I believe that the scheme will provide a practical demonstration of the inclusive approach adopted by successive Governments to our Diaspora. The Certificate of Irish Heritage will give official recognition to the many people worldwide who are conscious of their Irish heritage and feel a strong affinity for Ireland. It will not, however, confer any citizenship or other legal rights or entitlements to the successful applicants. Those applying for Certificates of Irish Heritage will be required to submit comprehensive details of their Irish ancestral connections and relevant documents and certificates to show their connection with Ireland.

    It is expected that contract negotiations with the company selected to operate the service on behalf of my Department will be completed shortly and an announcement will be made thereafter. While there may be scope, in due course, for some Government Departments and State Agencies to develop products and services aimed at Certificate holders, our primary focus at present is to establish the Certificate scheme itself. The Certificate is just one of a number of initiatives being undertaken by the Government to build further practical links between Ireland and the global Irish.

    So it looks like it may still be some time before these certificates will be hanging on walls in Boston or Buenos Aires.

    I’ve said before that I think the Certificate is a positive step, but that I’d prefer to see something like the “Book of Scottish Connections”, which would be a more interactive way of developing the relationship between Ireland and the Irish abroad. In any case, it will be interesting to see how this develops.

    Topics: Latest News | Comments Off on Certificate of Irish Heritage coming… soon?

    Comments are closed.