Read more - Irish heritage certificate available by year end
The proposed 'certificate of Irishness,' which was debated at the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh last September and is expected to be trialed for a year received a mixed international reaction, according to correspondence seen by the Sunday Tribune newspaper .
Up to 70 million people across the globe might be eligible for such a certificate which, the Irish embassy in Washington said would have “no legal standing as such [but] would constitute official recognition for many people of their familial and emotional connection to Ireland".
Anyone applying for the certificate would have to provide some evidence of Irish lineage - a birth certificate, baptismal form, death or marriage documents, or a property deed.
Special deals on travel such as discounts on car rental, hotel rooms, restaurants have all been discussed for Diaspora members who qualify.
Those who have a grandparent born in Ireland can get citizenship but it is those beyond that generation or those unable to come up with exact information that the certificate is aimed.
While most of the reaction seemed positive – a soldier claiming his entire division would qualify, or someone else noting that it should be pushed further, to include citizenship – there were a few nay-sayers.
A proposal for a membership card that would allow tourists avail of discounts in Ireland was attacked by a Fianna Fail member who said that, "I do hope that the same [tourist] discounts will apply to those of us living on this island too – I would envisage a serious PR backlash if there were a two-tier system set up… with Irish people faring worse."
The general idea of such a certificate appalled some correspondents, one of whom said, “I just read about your decision to introduce a certificate of Irishness. To be honest, I cannot think of anything more crass and cheap and ultimately demeaning to the Irish Diaspora."