President Michael D. Higgins presents Certificate of Irish Heritage to Lord Coe24 February 2012
During his visit to the Olympic Stadium in London, President Higgins presented Lord Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, with his Certificate of Irish Heritage.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, President Higgins said:
“Generations of Irish people have made an invaluable contribution to all aspects of life in Britain in the political field, in the arts, cultural and economic fields and in particular in the many aspects of sporting life in which Lord Coe has had such a distinguished career”.
Speaking after receiving his Certificate, Lord Coe stated that he was very pleased to receive the Certificate and that he has very fond memories of spending time in Ireland with his family when he was younger.
The Certificate of Irish Heritage is an Irish government initiative which provides an official recognition by the Irish State to the many people worldwide who are of Irish descent. The Certificate is an important acknowledgement and appreciation by the Irish State of the strong and enduring connection to Ireland felt by millions of people around the world. Applications for Certificates can be made by anyone of Irish descent who was not born on the island of Ireland.
Each Certificate of Irish Heritage features the official Harp, a quote from Article 2 of the Constitution and a signature, on behalf of the Government of Ireland, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The first Certificate of Irish Heritage was presented posthumously to Joseph Hunter, a New York Fireman who lost his life in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.
Speaking after his visit to London, the President said:
“The Irish Abroad will always be in the forefront of my thoughts. As Ireland faces significant economic challenges, that we can today call upon the goodwill and support of some 70 million people who claim Irish ancestry is an enormous resource. The people of Ireland greatly value the goodwill and support of those of Irish descent abroad, and as our Constitution says, we cherish the special affinity between us. The Certificate of Irish Heritage is an important Government initiative to bring that affinity to life and make it tangible in homes all over the world”.
A number of Certificate presentations will also be made by the Government to members of the Diaspora over the coming St Patrick’s Day period.
The Certificate of Heritage
The Certificate is available in three unique designs which take their inspiration from Ireland’s history and our land. In addition to the “Simple Celtic script”, Certs are available that incorporate an image of Edwin Hayes’ 1853 painting of “An Emigrant Ship, Dublin Bay, Sunset” or feature details from “Bringing home the Turf”, an 1870 painting by William Davis, depicting the costal landscape of the West of Ireland (the Certificate design which Lord Coe accepted).
Further information on the Certificate can be found at www.heritagecertificate.ie
Sebastian Coe won four Olympic medals for middle distance running, including two Gold medals -one in 1980 and the other in the 1984 Olympic Games for the 1500 metres. He set eleven world records in middle distance events. After retiring from athletics, he served as a conservative MP in the 1990s and received a peerage in 2000. He headed the bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to London, and following this success became the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games.