Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Irish Roots' Discount Card Planned; The Press Association Reports

The Press Association reported on 19 May 2010 that tourists with Irish roots could be given discounts at some of the country's top visitor attractions under a proposed scheme to rally the Irish Diaspora.

People with Irish ancestry will be eligible for a Certificate of Irish Heritage under new plans being thrashed out by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Although holding the document would not entitle someone to citizenship or other legal rights, the department has proposed that successful applicants would be issued with a small credit-card style card giving knock-down rates at tourist venues.

The scheme would be overseen by the department but run by an outside company funded by fees from the applicants.

Micheal Martin, Foreign Affairs Minister, said firms were being invited to come up with ideas on how to operate the project.

Currently anyone born in Ireland born abroad with an Irish parent or grandparent can qualify for Irish citizenship.

But the department said there were many people worldwide who are of Irish descent but do not qualify for citizenship and it is envisaged the certificate would recognise those people in an official way.

Those hoping to apply will have to prove their claim to Irish ancestry, by producing documents such as a birth certificate, church records of death, marriage and baptism or land records or wills.

The programme would run on a trial basis for a year and be renewed annually thereafter up to a maximum of five years if successful. It is estimated the Diaspora consists of 70 million people across the globe.

Last September Mr Martin proposed the Global Irish Network following a three-day event at Farmleigh, bringing together some of the top minds from the Irish Diaspora to help promote Ireland overseas.