Monday 25 September 2017

Ireland should re-join the Commonwealth - says Roscommon senator

Roscommon senator Frank Feighan. Photo: Tom Burke
Roscommon senator Frank Feighan. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A FINE Gael senator has suggested Ireland should re-join the Commonwealth as Britain prepares to vote on leaving the European Union.

Roscommon senator Frank Feighan said returning to the Commonwealth after more than six decades could strengthen Ireland’s “economic and cultural ties internationally”.

Speaking in the Seanad, Mr Feighan said: “Among the Commonwealth’s many noble objectives is the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development.

“Yes, there will be detractors from obvious quarters about the notion of rejoining the Commonwealth but would such a move not fit perfectly with this new era of political and religious tolerance on our islands?

"Would rejoining not help further develop a pluralist Ireland where all our different identities are always mutually recognised and respected? Would it also not just strengthen existing trade, business, cultural and political relationships but nurture new ones across the world?,” he added.

The Queen of England Elizabeth II is the Commonwealth’s figurative head of state. She is recognised as a monarch in 16 of the 53 Commonwealth countries. Ireland left the Commonweal in the 1949.

Mr Feighan noted the Queen of England’s visit to Ireland in 2011 and Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness’s attendance at an event in Windsor Castle to highlight Ireland’s changing relationship with Britain. 

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