Letters: United Ireland should gear up to join British Commonwealth

The flags of various British Commonwealth nations line the route after the coronation ceremony of King Charles and Queen Camilla in London. Photo: PA© PA

Letters to the Editor

Cue the sad, predictable outrage at the very mention of it, but Sam McBride’s suggestion (Sunday Independent, May 14) that a United Ireland rejoin the British Commonwealth is something that should be given some serious consideration.

It should at least provoke a debate among grown-up adults rather than a knee-jerk, sneering dismissal from the usual suspects, many of whom can be found doing their weekly supermarket shop decked out in full Manchester United regalia.

It is a fact that all things English are embraced on this island as tightly as parents greeting their children at Dublin Airport after a six-week stint abroad. Whether it’s Premier League football, shopping, fashion, music, TV soap operas and a secret fascination with the royals, English culture abounds.

The suggestion that a United Ireland rejoin the Commonwealth has its merits from a cultural and economic benefit point of view. But particularly in the context of recognising the legitimacy of both identities on this island, where it could be argued that Irish identity is practically second-class in the North while unionism still refuses to agree to enact Irish language legislation.

We live in a world of burning bridges so Mr McBride’s suggestion is worth considering if for no other reason that rejoining the Commonwealth might erect a bridge between different traditions and, of course, different football strips.

Derek Ross

Templeogue, Dublin 6

Double payment to watch games is not the GAA way

I’m your typical GAA enthusiast. I pay my club membership, I’m a former player, administrator, match-day volunteer, fund-raiser, etc – all for the love of our national games. I enjoy club and county games and have no problem paying the admission fee. I also pay my annual TV licence to support public service free-to-air broadcasting.

I was rather amused by the kerfuffle that broke out between RTÉ, the GAA, Virgin Media and GAAGO, a subscription-based sports channel owned by RTÉ and the GAA and aimed at an international market and the Irish diaspora. So, I’m surprised that the GAA is allowing GAAGO to undo a long-standing tradition of providing championship games free-to-air.

RTÉ and GAA personnel are on the GAAGO board, which has secured a package of 38 Saturday evening championship games during the 2023 season. Instead of having these games available free-to-air, patrons must cough up €12 per game, €24 for three games or €79 for a season ticket.

The cost of this pay-per-view service and the difficulty many people will have in setting it up on their TVs is like a third-man tackle. The GAAGO set-up disenfranchises a loyal Gaelic games following.

RTE and GAA are two national institutions which should be protecting free-to-air broadcasting. GAAGO was set-up to serve viewers abroad. Giving it home control of our GAA championships is a very dangerous departure. This arrangement of double payment – TV licence and pay-to-view – is not the GAA way. Those unable to attend a championship game should be allowed enjoy the game free-to-air.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

Well done to UK for making Eurovision a great success

As a committed music lover I thoroughly enjoyed the Eurovision this year. Music is a language that transcends all barriers.

Fair play to the United Kingdom for hosting it on behalf of Ukraine, and it was so nice to see the blue and yellow flags displayed so prominently. Liverpool did itself proud. Graham Norton ensured that we felt a part of it also.

President Zelensky wanted to address the concert, but the European Broadcasting Union rightfully thought that would bring politics to the event. The win by Sweden was well deserved, it was a great song.

Grace Redmond

Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Talent might not be key for Ireland to win song contest

I am reminded of the old Kit Kat advert on TV, which seems totally appropriate for all things Eurovision: “You can’t sing, you can’t play, you look awful...you’ll go a long way.” Perhaps we should keep that in mind for our next outing in Sweden in 2024 to avoid another Waterloo.

Aidan Roddy

Cabinteely, Dublin 18

I’ll pass on why OAPs must reapply for travel ticket

Can anyone enlighten me as to why OAPs need to regularly renew their Free Travel Passes? Surely, once deemed old enough to qualify for same, they are hardly likely to become ineligible as the years advance.

M Worrall

Co Galway