Unofficial certificates of Irish heritage are being launched in a bid to dupe the Irish diaspora, but the issuing group is not connected to the Irish government initiative to create the new certificate of heritage.
An organization called “Certificate of Irish Heritage” announced last week that President Barack Obama is to become one of the first Irish Americans to receive a certificate “in recognition of his Irish ancestry” on St. Patrick’s Day.
A senior source in the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that the organization claiming to be the distributor of official “Certificates of Irish Heritage” has no link to the Irish government’s initiative.
“This has nothing to do with the official government scheme that we are developing. It does not have our support,” the source told IrishCentral.com.
Last June the Department of Foreign Affairs unveiled plans to provide “Certificates of Irish Heritage” to 70 million people worldwide who are of Irish descent, but do not qualify for full citizenship. Benefits may include cheaper travel costs and discounts on many Irish goods.
A company called FEXCO in Killorglin, Co. Kerry has been entrusted by the government with the creation of the genuine Irish certificates.
In a press release aimed at Irish Americans Michael Pearse, the CEO of the Certificates of Irish Heritage organization said, “President Obama should be the first person to receive this certificate on behalf of the people of America in recognition of the strong cultural, historic and economic relationships between the two countries."
The company’s website, (certificateofirishheritage.com) is still under construction, and displays an Irish harp, identical to the logo of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It encourages applicants to register their interest for a certificate. It does not state that it is linked to the Irish government, but gives the impression that it is the genuine source for certificates.
Irish Central has made several attempts to contact Pearse by email and phone over the last few days, but has received no response.