Certificates of Irish Heritage will be made available to the estimated 70 million people with Irish lineage around the world in the coming weeks, less than one year after the government scheme was announced.
An agreement has been reached between FEXCO, the Kerry based company which is a global provider of consumer services and the Department of Foreign Affairs on manufacturing and distributing the certificates.
The certificates can be acquired by those unable to get an Irish passport because their ancestry goes back beyond their grandparents.
The new certificates will act as a concrete acknowledgment of a person’s Irish heritage and may also grant them tourist and travel deals.The proposal was initially suggested by the Global Irish Economic Forum in September 2009 and theIrish Department of Foreign Affairs moved quickly to implement the project.
Announcing the project last June, a Foreign Affairs spokesman said the plan “will enable people who have a strong Irish connection to assert their Irishness and their heritage.”
Last year alone, more than 11,000 people applied for Irish citizenship through their grandparents which suggests that millions of Irish descendants throughout the world will apply for the certs.
While the final details to qualify for a certificate are not yet known, it is expected that those applying will have to furnish official documents such as birth certificate; baptismal form; death or marriage documents; or a property deed to prove their lineage.
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