Certify Me, I'm Irish
December 23, 2011 5:36 AM Subscribe
posted by lovermont (23 comments total)
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Conceived at the Global Irish Economic Forum
in 2009 as a way to engage with the Irish diaspora,
the Irish government's Certificate of Irish Heritage
program opened to applicants this fall. The €40 (€100 framed) certificate is a document that officially recognizes one's Irish heritage, and is aimed at those with Irish ancestry who do not qualify for Irish citizenship. Though initial reports indicated some tourist discounts would be attached,
it confers no legal or financial benefits.
When details of the certificate first emerged, Irish Independent columnist Martina Devlin scathingly declared it "a demeaning device to hoodwink the descendants of emigrants."
Another columnist lampooned the idea with an "Irishness quiz,"
while polls on other news sites questioning whether it was worthwhile
produced mixed results.
In September, the Minister for Foreign Affairs awarded the first Certificate of Irish Heritage posthumously to New York firefighter Joseph Hunter who was killed in the 9/11 attacks.
And while application numbers have been low since the worldwide launch, the company contracted to operate the certificate service is planning a major marketing drive in the new year,
which will include presenting certificates to select celebrities with Irish ancestry.
Cork city councillor Laura McGonigle believes the certificate program is "a great initiative, and creates great value and a bond with our people wherever they live."
In fact, she was so inspired by the idea that she has recently proposed the creation of a "Cork passport"
as a way to boost local revenue. But if her efforts fail, those proud of their Cork heritage can always get the People's Republic of Cork passport cover.