It seems the Certificate of Irish Heritage initiative, launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs in early summer, has not fallen victim to austerity cuts.
In response to emails I'd received via Irish Genealogy Toolkit in the last couple of weeks, I contacted the Department to find out if the scheme had, for whatever reason, been shelved. It was, after all, supposed to be up and running by the end of 2010, and no one had heard a peep about it for months.
Here is the reply from the Department:
The Department published a request on the official Government website
(eTenders) at the end of April seeking expressions of interest from
suitably qualified service providers for the establishment of a
concession to operate the Certificate of Irish Heritage scheme on behalf
of the Department. Expressions of interest were received from a number
of interested service providers and contractual negotiations are
underway with the company deemed most suitable to operate the scheme.
Given that the contract negotiations are continuing, it would not be
appropriate to go into further details on these negotiations.
I don't speak 'government tongue' so I may not be picking up nuances in this reply but it seems, at the very least, to be saying that the scheme isn't yet dead in the water.