Ireland should consider rejoining Commonwealth, FG Senator says

Frank Feighan says relations are at ‘all-time high’ and Queen only had titular role

‘We are a mature Republic, so we must seek a debate to discuss the economy and the fact that there are 2.2 billion people in the Commonwealth’ Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘We are a mature Republic, so we must seek a debate to discuss the economy and the fact that there are 2.2 billion people in the Commonwealth’ Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan has said Ireland should consider rejoining the Commonwealth.

“We are a mature Republic, so we must seek a debate to discuss the economy and the fact that there are 2.2 billion people in the Commonwealth,’’ he said.

Mr Feighan told the Seanad he had noted with great interest the celebrations of the 125th birthday of former Fine Gael taoiseach John A Costello, who had declared Ireland a Republic in 1949. Up until that time, Ireland was an active member of the Commonwealth, he added.

He said relations were now at “an all-time high’’ with the new Commonwealth, adding the Queen had only a titular role in it since 1971.

“Now there is support for world peace, liberty, human rights, equality and free trade, so it would be a good time to have a debate on whether the Republic should consider rejoining the Commonwealth,’’ he added.

Mr Feighan said there were many members of the Irish diaspora living in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, party colleague Michelle Mulherin revealed a company would not accept payment by postal order of car insurance from an elderly woman in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Instead, the company had insisted the woman pay by credit card.

“Ultimately, she had to get a family member to supply a credit card number,’’ Ms Mulherin added.

“There is a cohort of older people, and people from a certain socioeconomic background, who have limited options when making payments.’’

She said it was “scandalous’’ an insurance company would not accept a postal order, for which a person had presented cash to the post office.;

“This undermines services provided by An Post,’’ Ms Mulherin added.

The company’s actions, she said, demonstrated “haughtiness’’ and the fact it felt it could get away with it.