Why the Republic must consider rejoining the Commonwealth

SOURCE: THE IRISH TIMES Brexit means we need to build new bridges both to Britain and to a wider world   Brexit is a reminder that many people have been puzzled as to why a country would suddenly and unilaterally withdraw from an international organisation that promotes co-operation, democracy and human rights. An organisation that many other states are bending over backwards to join. The international organisation that comes to mind is the commonwealth, which Ireland suddenly left in 1949. In doing so this State cut itself off from 2.4 billion people who form a voluntary association of 53 sovereign, equal and independent states. The British commonwealth that we left is no more. The word “British” has been dropped. Republics are welcome as members. The commonwealth has its own flag and operates on the basis of equality between all members. Thirty-one of the member countries are small states or island nations, like our own. Some of the members – Rwanda and Mozambique – have no historical connection to the British Empire. Every country in the organisation has an equal say. Today’s commonwealth is not about British dominance. Since Ireland left, a separate commonwealth secretariat has been established, to promote democracy, human … Continue reading