DUP MP: Irish should join Commonwealth

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The East Londonderry MP said such a move would pave the way for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic to table a joint bid for the Commonwealth Games at some point in the future.

Alan Haselhurst, Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, said he didn’t want to cause diplomatic concern but agreed with Mr Campbell that the move would be a natural one and indicated that he had already raised the matter with the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, Seán Barrett.

Mr Campbell made the comments during a debate at Westminster last week.

He said: “I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. Does he agree that now, or some time in the very near future, might be an appropriate time for the Irish Republic to consider returning to the Commonwealth?

“That might even offer the opportunity of a combined bid, between Northern Ireland and the Republic, for a future Commonwealth games.”

The CPA Chair replied: “I do not necessarily want to cause diplomatic concern by talking about the possibility of the Republic wishing to return to the Commonwealth, but I have raised that matter during my chairmanship with the Speaker of the Dáil.

“It seems to me to be a natural thing to do, but it is up to the people of the Republic to decide.

“They would be very welcome and they would seem natural partners among the 53 nations that are part of the Commonwealth.”