Tuesday 17 July 2018

Joining the Commonwealth would help address the Brexit conundrum

New links with Brexiting Britain are needed. Providing reassurance to unionists is too. Both could be achieved by joining up, writes Dan O'Brien

'Brexit has meant that Ireland has had to choose between staying in the EU or leaving with Britain.' Stock photo: PA
'Brexit has meant that Ireland has had to choose between staying in the EU or leaving with Britain.' Stock photo: PA

Ireland is a maturing nation. The post-colonial inferiority complex that dogged previous generations is mostly consigned to history. The economic crash and ignominious bailout of recent years have made nobody proud, but those knocks have done little to undermine a nation that has steadily grown in self-confidence.

The confident and outward- looking nature of Irish people is reflected in the posture the Irish state takes towards the rest of the world. Underpinning Irish foreign policy is a belief in an open, free-trading world supported by international institutions with solid rules-based foundations.

The concrete expression of this posture is membership of a whole array of international organisations. Membership and active involvement in the United Nations and its large family of institutions have been central to Irish foreign policy since the middle of the last century. Being in the World Trade Organisation and involvement in global efforts to reduce climate change are just two other examples of how the state puts its belief in multilateralism into practice.

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