LETTER:An invitation to the Irish

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From Mr Richard Bourne

Sir: The likelihood that the Queen will follow up Prince Charles' successful visit to the Irish Republic is surely welcome. She would make such a visit in her capacity as Head of State here, rather than as head of the Commonwealth.

But is it not time to consider more actively the possibility that the Irish Republic might rejoin the Commonwealth, as one element in the wider healing process on which we are embarked on the British Isles? In the rather different circumstances of South Africa, renewed Commonwealth membership is already proving beneficial to both South Africa and the other 50 states.

There are substantial communities of Irish origin in Australia and Canada, as well as here, and Irish development agencies have significant links with several developing countries. For the Commonwealth, which suffers from a serious deficit in political and material inputs, a touch of Irish imagination could be extremely valuable, not least in helping represent Commonwealth interests within the counsels of the European Union.

Yours sincerely,


Director, Commonwealth Non-Governmental Office for South Africa

London WC1

2 June