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Irish senator calls on Republic of Ireland to rejoin Commonwealth

'Would rejoining not help further develop a pluralist Ireland'

Published 22/06/2016

Frank Feighan is the first TD to wear a poppy in the Dail since 1996
Frank Feighan is the first TD to wear a poppy in the Dail since 1996

An Irish Senator has suggested that the Republic of Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth.

Speaking in the Seanad, Roscommon senator Frank Feighan said consideration should be given to the merits of Ireland rejoining the organisation currently made up of 53 members.

The Republic officially left the Commonwealth in 1949 but Feighan said that as the “decades of deep political and societal upheaval are now firmly behind us” it may be time to reconsider.

He also pointed out that 33 republics are members and that many of them are home to a large Irish diaspora.

He 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.”

He added that the peace process in recent years has led Ireland to a point at which becoming a Commonwealth member was "the next intelligent step".

He asked the Seanad: “Would rejoining not help further develop a pluralist Ireland where all our different identities are always mutually recognized and respected?

"Would it also not just strengthen existing trade, business, cultural and political relationships but nurture new ones across the world?

“By doing so, will it not promote Ireland’s values to a global audience while strengthening and growing important economic and cultural ties internationally?

Taoiseach Enda Kenny ruled out Ireland joining the Commonwealth in 2013 but according to Irish Central, he said Kenny “equally acknowledged the growing links between Ireland and Commonwealth, in terms of trade, diplomacy, culture.”

The former TD previously hit headlines for wearing a red poppy on Remembrance Day each November as he said he wanted to commemorate the thousands of men from across the Island of Ireland who fought in the Great Wars.

He said: “I wanted to publicly show that we had well and truly moved on from that dark, bloody era in the North before the evolution of the peace process - a time when the politics of fear and divisiveness tore apart communities living side by side.

“I wanted to affirm the wide acceptance that there is now a new political dawn in this country which has allowed us to move on from the divisions of the past and which had created so much tension on our island and between Ireland and Britain.”

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