Canada and Ireland: How a country across the Atlantic has influenced Irish affairs

Book review: Philip Currie recounts how the decision in 1948 to declare Ireland a Republic was announced in the Canadian capital Ottawa

Fenians take possession of St Armand in Canada during  Fenian Invasions  in June 1866. Photograph:   Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Fenians take possession of St Armand in Canada during Fenian Invasions in June 1866. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Halibut Treaty, negotiated between Canada and the United States in 1923, was the first international agreement designed to conserve a salt-water fish species. It limited the commercial fishery in the northern Pacific in waters shared by Alaskan and Canadian fishing fleets, and stands as a milestone in efforts to protect fish stocks and the environment.

And, surprisingly, it was also a milestone in the long march toward Irish independence. For the first time since 1867, when Canada became a self-governing dominion within the British empire, its officials had negotiated and signed an agreement with a foreign power without British diplomats at the table.

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