Republic 'should join Commonwealth'

Published Monday, 06 February 2012
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Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott says it is time for the Republic of Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth, during a special debate in the Assembly, marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Republic 'should join Commonwealth'
UUP leader Tom Elliott told the Assembly the Republic should join Commonwealth (© UTV)

Mr Elliott referred to the Queen's visit to the Republic last year, in which she laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, which was seen as a pivotal moment in British-Irish relations.

He added that the visit suggested a new relationship between two states that are "so close geographically but are maybe so apart in other circumstances".

"It may actually encourage the Republic of Ireland to look at the possibility to rejoin the Commonwealth once again," he told MLAs.

It was the first visit to Ireland by a British monarch since 1922 and First Minister Peter Robinson, who laid the motion, recognised the Queen's service during her 60 years on the throne.

"I am convinced that everyone in Northern Ireland will respect the significant role played by Her Majesty the Queen over such a significant period of time.

"She has brought a wise head to difficult situations, always there to give sound counsel to those who have audiences with her," he said.

Although some Sinn Féin MLAs did attend the motion, they were the only party not to take part, a silence described as "stony and churlish" by TUV MLA Jim Allister.

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell adding to the tributes.

"We all must recognise that our [image] of ourselves and of our future changes in time and we hope and believe that that is for the better.

"The visit of Queen Elizabeth the second to Dublin and the work of President McAleese was another important step forward in a process of reconciliation between the peoples of these islands," said Dr McDonnell

The Republic left the Commonwealth in 1949 and since then has sought to align itself to Europe, embracing the Common Market in a fashion aimed at reducing Ireland's reliance on Britain. The UK is still the country's major trade partner.

It is expected the Queen will visit Northern Ireland later this year during the summer as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
33 Comments
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (1,006 days ago):
Very could, Frosty, but your definitions of the two words don't fit with the definitions in any English dictionary. For example, Bigot - big·ot (b g t) n. One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. [French, from Old French.] From reading your comments on another policital website it is ironic that your comment could fit your own posts. But, hey, your still young....
Frosty in Here wrote (1,019 days ago):
Now now Normandy, this isn't the place for trolls, it's just for bigots to express their opinions. Definition: BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. Definition: TROLL, n. One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Don't you think the "English" have done enough damage? Of course not, you're "English". :)
Daniel Begley in Richmond VA. USA wrote (1,020 days ago):
Mr Elliot has a grand idea that should apply to us here in the States.We could be part of The Commonwealth again and say Sorry for that misunderstanding (1775-1783) because we all love tea, fish and chips and now we get English football on the telly.The man is brillant!!!!!
Ulysses32 in Befast wrote (1,020 days ago):
Living in la-la land John? most of their citizens alreadylive in Great Britain? Aw, and why are you picking on a member of the Commonwealth like Bangladesh for, John? Why not pick on other member states like, Sri Lanka and Rwanda? There are plenty of Third World coutries in the Commonwealth you could pick from. And, good lord, look at the their human rights track records. As for economies, have a read back at Davy McFaul's comment for a dose of reality.
norman.d in bangor wrote (1,020 days ago):
to NORMANDY only for our soldiers fighting your english battles you would not be able to fight on your own without us as well as scotland remember that when you are whinging about out we country
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