'Benefits' of rejoining Commonwealth


IRELAND REJOINING the Commonwealth would bring “nothing but benefits” and the idea should not offend anyone, according to journalist and former diplomat Eamon Delaney.

Addressing the Reform Group in Dublin yesterday, which was Commonwealth Day, Mr Delaney said there were compelling reasons why Ireland should rejoin the group of nations it left in 1949.

He said it would be “nice to be a member of another supportive club” during the economic crisis.

“The country that came immediately to our aid was Britain,” he said. Britain had offered “a bailout under much better terms than what we were given or was imposed upon us”, he added.

He said Irish people had many “friends and cousins” in Commonwealth countries. “If it’s good enough for Australia, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand, surely it’s good enough for us,” he said.

Dr Cyrus Rustomjee, the director of the economic affairs division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, outlined the Commonwealth’s work to assist member countries that he said were “trapped in low growth and low output”.

The Commonwealth brought the needs of small states to global attention, he said.

He stressed it was a matter for each country to decide on Commonwealth membership. It was entirely a sovereign decision.

He did not know what Ireland’s intentions were and he had no remit and no particular views on the matter. He praised the “very rich tapestry of Irish contribution to development”, which he said he had seen in action, and mentioned the work of Irish Aid.