Ireland intends to connect with the 70 million people worldwide who claim Irish heritage through a new program called the Certificate of Irish Lineage. The new certification provides individuals with Irish ancestry an opportunity to celebrate their Irish-ness with a government-sanctioned initiative designed especially for those who do not qualify for Irish citizenship or dual citizenship.
In an announcement Friday morning, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kelly welcomed applicants to the new program, “The Irish have been scattered around the globe. Today, we reach out a hand of friendship to our long-lost brothers and sisters by recognizing the Irish who do not live on the auld sod.”
Kelly unveiled a tiered program that not only considers an applicant’s Irish heritage, but also their potential tourism spending capacity and internet influence. “We worked closely with a team of consultants to design a scheme that aligns with Tourism Ireland’s social networking initiatives and visitor goals. As a result, we feel the Certificate of Irish Lineage will create excitement for Irish travel and increase the number of people who set up their own Irish village in our new IrelandTown Facebook game.”
Points for Irish Heritage
Certificates are awarded on a point system that allows applicants to earn credit for Irish heritage, dying their hair red, giving their children and pets Irish names, applying for the interactive online game “Irish Diaspora’s Got Talent,” and many other options. The program also offers “Indulgence Points” which allow applicants who lack Irish heritage to purchase points using their Visa or Mastercard or procure points by posting approved messages on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
“We understand many non-Irish would like participate, so ‘Indulgence Points’ have always been a vital part of the program,” said Niall Gibbons, chief executive for Tourism Ireland. “We’re expecting the program to be extremely popular in areas with a strong desire to connect with Ireland such as the United States, Canada, and China.”
The three tiers of the program have been underwritten by the luxury brands of Waterford Crystal, Newbridge Silver, and KMG Killarney Plastics. Several additional companies have signed on as sponsors to offer discounts and special offers to those who qualify for the program. “We’re especially excited about the involvement of KMS Killarney Plastics who will produce the official Certificate of Irish Lineage name badge that participants will proudly wear while visiting Ireland,” Gibbons said.
Three Tiers of Irish Lineage
The Certificate of Irish Lineage offers three levels of membership, each with its own requirements and benefits.
KMG Killarney Plastics Level – Plastic Paddies
Administration Fee: €150
This level is reserved for anyone who celebrates St Patrick’s Day. Participants in this class receive a lovely KMS Killarney Plastics shamrock luggage tag and €5 off Collision Damage Waiver insurance from the Irish car rental provider of their choice (a .08% savings!).
Newbridge Silver Level – Ties to the Past
Administration Fee: €725
Especially designed for applicants with confirmed Irish heritage, the Newbridge Silver Level requires at least one certified genealogical link to Ireland or 50 Indulgence Points. Those awarded this classification will enjoy a Newbridge Silver paperclip, a RyanAir-approved carry-on bag (holding just under 7kg of luggage), and a one-day pass to the Barack Obama shrine in Moneygall, County Offaly.
Waterford Crystal Level – More Irish than the Irish Themselves
Administration Fee: €1,200
Offering the highest level of bragging rights, members in this category must exhibit ample tourism spending potential. Those awarded this classification will receive a limited edition Waterford Crystal “Celtic Teardrop” pebble, a free pillow upgrade at participating accommodations in Ireland, and automatic enrollment in the newly created Adopt-an-Irish-Bank program.
Special Offers Available to ALL Levels of Membership
- A €450 voucher for frozen foods from Dunne’s Stores
- 50% Off a weekend getaway at all NAMA-owned hotels
- Buy one get one free holy water from the Shrine at Knock
- Free Irish rain spa treatment with every mini-hail exfoliation scrub at any of Ireland’s blue flag beaches
- One complimentary class at the Michael Flatfoot School of Dance
- Your choice of Eau de Turf or Parfume du Sheep at Airport Duty Free Shops
- Two Blarney Castle Elevator Passes
- Free American-style Ketchup at all Supermac’s locations
Enda Kenny said, “I intend to encourage Barack Obama to launch a reciprocal program in the United States when he visits Ireland next month.”