The Certificate of Irish Heritage should be operational by October, according to a statement by Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.
He said the scheme was being established in response to a strong demand from members of the diaspora who are not entitled to Irish citizenship. "I believe that the scheme will provide a practical demonstration of the inclusive approach adopted by successive Governments to our diaspora.
"The Certificate of Irish Heritage will give official recognition to the many people worldwide who are conscious of their Irish heritage and feel a strong affinity for Ireland. It will not, however, confer any citizenship or other legal rights or entitlements to the successful applicants."
Full details for how the scheme will operate are not yet available but the Minister explained that those applying for the Certificate of Irish Heritage would have to submit comprehensive details of their Irish ancestry, together with relevant documentation to show their connection with Ireland.
Contract negotiations with FexCo, the county Kerry company who won the tender to operate the scheme on behalf of the Government, have been completed and the Certificate should be officially launched in about three months.