The Irish government has confirmed it will finally introduce a new “Certificate of Irish Heritage” for the diaspora in October.
The certificate will be available to people with Irish heritage around the world, who do not qualify for Irish citizenship.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said in a statement said the certificates will “give official recognition to the many people worldwide who are conscious of their Irish heritage and feel a strong affinity for Ireland.
“I believe that the scheme will provide a practical demonstration of the inclusive approach adopted by successive Governments to our diaspora.”
“It will not, however, confer any citizenship or other legal rights or entitlements to the successful applicants,” he added.
Applicants will be required to submit details of their ancestral connections along with the relevant documentation.
“It is expected that the scheme will be operational by October,” the Minister added.
Irish company FEXCO based in Kerry has been awarded the rights to produce and market the certificate.
Labour TD Gerald Nash welcomed the move, stating the programme was “an appropriate and meaningful way” to recognise those who are not Irish citizens, “yet have a wish to have their Irish connections and heritage acknowledged by the State.” He stated that he expects “significant economic, social and cultural benefits will accrue” from the certificates.