Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Certificates of Irish Heritage
Question 82: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to develop a certificate of Irish heritage scheme directed at the Irish diaspora worldwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19960/11]
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. Contract negotiations with FeXco the company selected to operate the service on behalf of my Department have now been completed. It is expected that the scheme will be operational by October.