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The government's 'certificate of Irishness' is being scrapped due to lack of interest

Only 179 of the things were sold this year.


So does Barack Obama.

Ditto Tom Cruise.

You may recall, in fact, that Graham Norton asked the Top Gun star whether he threw his away straight after his photo op with Eamon Gilmore – of if he waited until he got back to the hotel.

Now, those famous ‘certificates of Irishness’ are no more.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed this afternoon that the scheme was being discontinued due to lack of interest.

It’s being scrapped entirely from next Monday.

Tom Cruise Certificate of Iri Eamon Gilmore presents Tom Cruise with his certificate. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Certificate of Irish Heritage was introduced by then-foreign affairs minister Eamon Gilmore in 2011 to recognise descendants of previous generations of Irish citizens.

It was aimed at giving “greater practical expression to the sense of Irish identity felt by many around the world”.

However, uptake has been slow. The Irish Times reported just last week that only 3,000 people had paid the €40 fee to prove their heritage. 

Sales have slowed to snail’s pace this year in particular, with just 179 certificates being handed over.

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“It was never anticipated that the Certificate of Irish Heritage would provide significant revenue to the Government,” a statement from the Department insisted today.

Clinton Global Initiative Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both have Certificates of Irishness. That's why they're so happy in this picture. Source: Associated Press

Further analysis on how “members of the Irish diaspora can seek to assert their Irish identity” are now being explored, the Department says.

Presentations of the certificates will continue in the future (and if you want to spring for one for your uncle Sean in Milwaukee, you can still buy them here for the next few days).

Column: So, we have recognised Tom Cruise’s Irish roots… where’s the harm in that?

PICS: Irishness, pints and craic: Tom Cruise’s 24 hours in Dublin (pics, videos)

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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