Irish politician  Frank Feighan suggests that Ireland should return to the Commonwealth

Irish politician Frank Feighan suggests that Ireland should return to the Commonwealth

AN IRISH senator has suggested that Ireland should consider returning to the Commonwealth.

Speaking at the Seanad yesterday, June 21, Fine Gael senator for Roscommon and South Leitrim Frank Feighan said since that there are many Irish people living in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Ireland "should not fear rejoining [the Commonwealth]".

He suggested that Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth, which comprises of 53 countries, because "relations [in the Commonwealth] are now at an all-time high" and Ireland could take advantage of the Commonwealth's population of 2.2 billion, representing a little under a third of the world's population.

"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 of Ireland should consider rejoining the Commonwealth," he added.

In response to Senator Feighan's request, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Irish Overseas and the Diaspora Mark Daly said: "I did not see that in the Fine Gael Manifesto."

"We will see how Brexit goes," added Daly.

The Commonwealth is a group of 53 countries that are or were colonies of the British empire and its goal is, according to its website, to "support each other and work together towards international goals".

Ireland became part of Commonwealth when it was formed in 1931 but had left in 1949 when Ireland became an independent Republic.

Earlier today, Senator Feighan appeared on the Pat Kenny show on NewsTalk FM to discuss his comments.

He told Kenny that his suggestion was sparked by the possibility of Britain leaving the EU. "We need to start looking outside the EU... [and] ask ourselves where our future lies," he said.

He said that he would like to see a united Ireland and joining the Commonwealth would hasten the possibility of the North and South joining together.