Diljit Rana urges Republic to consider rejoining Commonwealth

Ronan McGreevy – Irish Times – 17 April 2015

The Republic needs to have a “rational and serious debate” about rejoining the Commonwealth, a member of the House of Lords has said.

Speaking at the launch of the first branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) in the Republic, Indian-born entrepreneur Lord Diljit Rana said any debate must not be “governed by historical distortion, but rather recognise the truth of today and recognise that the Republic of Ireland has much to offer and lots to receive.”

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> Lord Rana’s “Commonwealth plea to Republic”

We influenced the early Commonwealth, so it’s a pity Ireland isn’t taking part in Games

Mary Kenny – Irish Independent, 28 Jul 2014

Not a lot of people know – as Michael Caine is apt to say – that the Irish Free State played an influential role in developing the character of the Commonwealth, that group of 53 nations which arose out of the former British Empire.

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> Mary Kenny’s talk given at the RIA, Dublin, on Ireland’s relationship with the Commonwealth

Image: England’s Steven Way in action in the Men’s Marathon during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson.

Where next in British-Irish Relations?

Press release from the Reform Group, Dublin—8 April 2014

The Commonwealth of Nations has radically changed since Ireland left some sixty-five years ago. It is a global organisation with fifty-two countries, thirty-two of which are Republics and where twenty-one million people of Irish descent live. It is led by an elected Secretariat, the British monarch having a purely titular role. It promotes human rights, democracy, gender equality and through the Commonwealth games, a wide range of sporting activities.

At the recent British Irish Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Dublin, Ireland was encouraged to re-enter the Commonwealth of Nations. It would provide Ireland with an additional platform for trade and economic growth, allow Irish athletes to compete further on the world stage via the Commonwealth Games, promote Ireland in countries that have hitherto had limited links with the country over the past 65 years, and strengthen our connections to those countries who are strongly tied to the culture of Britain and Ireland.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s response was positive. He said:

The question of the Commonwealth obviously is one not for an immediate decision but I do think we can build on the trade links that are there.

Kenny added that Ireland does not have the resources to have diplomatic representation in many countries where the Commonwealth exists around the world. He emphasised that the recent trade mission to Singapore, which three ministers from the island of Ireland and Britain led, opened new trade for Ireland. He emphasised that the “Commonwealth has leverage to open new markets”.

We keep being told that relationships between Ireland and the UK have never been better and that reconciliation is top of the agenda. As the President and the Queen meet this week in London, is it now time to “finish the job” in British-Irish relations and bring an independent Republic of Ireland back into the Commonwealth?

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Nelson Mandela and the Commonwealth

Posted by Verity Sharp – Royal Commonwealth Society
6th December 2013

It is with sadness that the Royal Commonwealth Society joins South Africa and the international community in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela. The Commonwealth has lost an extraordinary and inspirational champion of the values that are its strength. He will be remembered for his innate dignity, his compassion and his unbounded capacity to draw a quality of forgiveness out of hatred.

As we reflect on Mandela’s passing, many Commonwealth commentators will remember the association’s opposition of the apartheid movement, and its support for inclusive democratic elections in South Africa as its finest hour.

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Image: Nelson Mandela at the Royal Commonwealth Society