The plan to issue “Certificates of Irishness” has been given the green light. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that the scheme would be unveiled in the next few weeks.
The scheme is aimed at those 80 million people around the world who claim Irish ancestry but do not qualify for an Irish passport.
The certificate was first suggested at the Global Irish Economic Forum.
Minister Martin has confirmed that the plan will now go ahead. He said “It will enable people who have a strong Irish connection to assert their Irishness and their heritage.”
He also emphasized that the certificate will have no legal standing and will be of no expense to the Irish taxpayer.
The numbers of people claiming their Irish citizenship annually under ‘the Granny Rule’ shows that there is an appetite worldwide amongst diaspora to be connected to Ireland. Last year more than 11,500 claimed citizenship because one of their grandparents were born in Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner Mr Martin said "Demand for citizenship through an Irish grandparent has spiked over the past two years, with 11,500 people putting in their claim during 2010.
"There has been an increased awareness of the rule since the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh, with more of our citizens coming forward to claim the entitlement to call themselves Irish and to have the right to a passport.
"I am keenly aware of the demands from people with an Irish background worldwide who want to forge stronger links with the land of their grandparents, great-grandparents and even further back.”
He continued “"They want their links with our country recognised and I am delighted that we are in a position to do that.
"Our communities play a huge part in bringing Irish sports, arts and culture to the world. They are also key in establishing business links in key world markets that will be central to our economic recovery."