‘Win-win’ bid for Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth after Brexit
IRELAND should ask to rejoin the Commonwealth, according to a leading Dublin politician.
Fine Gael senator Frank Feighan highlighted the economic and trade benefits of joining Brexit Britain and the existing 52 member countries, with a combined population of 2.3 billion.
He says the move, which would involve closer ties with the UK, would be a logical step forward after Brexit. Ireland is a member of the EU and uses the euro as its currency.
There have been concerns about how the border with Northern Ireland will be policed when Britain is no longer an EU member.
The Commonwealth, whose head is the Queen, is made up of former colonies of the British Empire. Ireland was a member but left in 1949. Mr Feighan, from County Roscommon, said: “We have to look at ways of improving our relationship, particularly after Brexit. We have to extend the hand of friendship to our near neighbours.”
He added: “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?”
The senator was also keen on the sporting implications, saying: “If Ireland did rejoin the Commonwealth, could we not then see the real possibility of an All-Ireland team competing in the Commonwealth Games? Would we not all welcome the concept of Ireland as one hosting the Commonwealth Games, an event which would be of huge benefit to our country? Such possibilities could eventually pave the way for the formation of an All-Ireland soccer team.”
Mr Feighan’s campaign was warmly received last night by the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Its director, Michael Lake, said: “We would totally welcome this. We have been working with Ireland for 18 months. There is a great deal of goodwill in Ireland for the UK.
“Ideally, Ireland would join the Commonwealth but it’s likely to be a long, gentle process with maybe some sort of associate membership.”
Frank Feighan... ‘friendship’