Friday, 7 January 2011

Plastic Paddy cert gets go ahead

The Certificate of Irishness suggested by the Irish Government, as first reported on this blog on June 25th 2010 ( is tragically to go ahead. The certificate is designed to allow people living abroad a chance to get a certificate that would have “no legal standing as such [but] would constitute official recognition for many people of their familial and emotional connection to Ireland", according to Washington's Irish Embassy, as reported on the Irish Central website on 25th October last year (

In other words, on a citizenship basis it is not worth the paper it will be printed on, but will make you feel better about having an Irish granny.

I objected to this when it was first suggested for a condition which was proposed which would allow those living abroad discounts when visiting Irish tourist attractions and other discounted services if they held such a document. This is quite clearly discriminatory against people born and raised in Ireland, who have legally valid documents proclaiming their actual Irishness as defined by citizenship - birth certificates, that sort of thing. It is also particularly insensitive considering Ireland is nearly bankrupt just now, and many of its citizens might be equally interested in such a discount as the economy falls apart around them whilst the same government is now issuing fancy bits of paper out to those willing to pay.

Irish Central has again picked up on this, quoting a Fianna Fail member who said that, "I do hope that the same [tourist] discounts will apply to those of us living on this island too – I would envisage a serious PR backlash if there were a two-tier system set up… with Irish people faring worse." (See

I'm from Northern Ireland, and my wife from the Republic, and we both feel quite passionately that Irishness is not something that can be sold to anyone willing to pay, but something endemic within the blood and the culture. However, on the off chance that this is incorrect, I do also have ancestry from Scotland, East Indies, Gibraltar, Bermuda and possibly even England (still working on that one!), and look forward to the development of equally useless bits of paper with no legal vailidity that will make me feel a bit more comfortable about my ethnic origins.

If you do have an Irish granny, and wish to apply for such a document, be warned that the Government of Ireland may at some stage also be willing to sell your Irish granny for a bit more cash.

Thoroughly shameful.

UPDATE: For a definition of 'plastic paddy' see

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