Rejoin The Commonwealth?
Sir, - If it will benefit the politicians, we may find ourselves once again in the Commonwealth. Raising the question may awaken sleeping dogs.
Up to the present generation, the British refused to accept the "Paddies" as other than British. I remember being classed as British even with an Irish passport, when my ship was in Baltimore, USA, during the war. When I refused to accept it, the immigration authorities agreed with me, and the captain was severely admonished for submitting false documentation. It was one little victory for recognition.
I spent much of my life travelling in British ships and aircraft. Constantly I was patronised when I was told, "We don't look upon you as foreign", or, "We still consider you British." No matter how often I retorted that I considered them as "foreign", it made no difference.
It is only in recent years that not only the world, but the British acknowledge us as an independent, sovereign nation. If we go back into the Commonwealth, we will once again be patronised with: "Welcome home, Paddy, we always knew you were British."
I have no axe whatever to grind with Britain. It gave me a living for two periods of my life. My wife is British, as is my eldest son. My only gripe is the refusal to accept that, as an Irishman, I wish to be recognised as one. As a people, we are no better or no worse than they are. - Yours, etc., Dermot C. Clarke,
Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.