The Commonwealth, officially titled as the Commonwealth of Nations is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. The association dates back to the early 1900s, with the decolonisation of the British Empire. The British government at the time founded the organisation for unity with many colonies which wanted increasing self-governance of its territories.
The head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth and even today it is an important and functioning union for all its current member states. Member states have no legal obligations to one another but are connected through historical ties, shared political will and the use of the English language, although as a secondary or third language in some member states.
Is Ireland in the Commonwealth?
No, Ireland is no part of the Commonwealth. It was not part of the commonwealth officially since becoming a republic in 1949. Unofficially it has not partaken in any commonwealth activity for many years previously, due to ongoing conflict with Ireland seeking to become an independent state.
Was Ireland ever in the commonwealth?
Yes, Ireland was part of the Commonwealth. As Ireland was considered as England’s first colony the country lived as part of the English, and then British, Empire for over 700 years. This meant that when the Commonwealth was formed, in the early 1900’s Ireland was part of the union.
Do some Irish people want to be part of the Commonwealth?
Re-joining the Commonwealth is not something often debated in Ireland. Relations between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain are positive, however, the issue of re-joining is rarely, if ever, discussed at Government level.
Is Northern Ireland part of the Commonwealth?
Yes. As part of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is part of the Commonwealth. It participates in the Commonwealth Games and all other Commonwealth activities as other members do.
What about other sovereign nations in the Commonwealth?
As with Ireland some other nations who were previously part of the Commonwealth have decided to leave the union. Zimbabwe, South Africa, Pakistan, The Gambia, and the Maldives are examples of such nations that left the Commonwealth, however all have applied to be readmitted to the union, with only Zimbabwe awaiting full membership once more.
Other nations that have become republic sovereign nations, which have decided to remain within the Commonwealth include Guyana, Mauritius and Dominica.