Release files to improve relations


Harry Stephenson (May 23) claims there would be considerable benefits accruing to the Republic of Ireland in joining the Commonwealth including further improved relations with Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Mr Stephenson claimed that the island of Ireland has more in common with the Commonwealth than it has with Europe or other nations.

In proposing Irish Commonwealth re-integration Mr Stephenson said “our divided society should not, and must not, be held to ransom to continue pursuance of a path of division”.

I don’t think those of us who oppose a return to Commonwealth have any need to dig up the bones of history to show why we should stay outside this club.

The 2003 British invasion of Iraq in the absence of a UN mandate in search of those elusive ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was deemed illegal by the UN and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

In 2012, the Cameron government was prevented from commencing military action against Syria by the House of Commons despite seeking its approval to go to war again.

Whereas many Commonwealth countries embrace standards and values which we share on this island, why would we want to be associated with such beacons of human rights as Pakistan, Uganda or Nigeria?. The standards and values of some Commonwealth states so lauded by Mr Stephenson are in fact repugnant and at variance with peace, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

I do however, agree with Mr Stephenson’s expressed desire to have improved relations with Britain. However, this can best be achieved by open co-operation on issues of mutual interest.

Take justice for example. In that regard perhaps the next time Mr Stephenson suggests ways of improving relations between the two nations of Britain and Ireland he might endorse the release of the files relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 which Britain continues to withhold despite repeated requests from successive Irish governments?

Tom Cooper, Dublin