News and publications News & Blog Commonwealth Day in Ireland 2021 This Commonwealth Day, the RCS Ireland team offer our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We honour all frontline workers in Ireland and across the Commonwealth, as they battle the impact of the coronavirus. Celebrations for this year’s Commonwealth Day have been scaled back across the world. As a result, RCS Ireland’s regular cultural, diplomatic, and economic events for this special day have been deferred until 2022. However, as in previous years, the occasion marks the ongoing special relationship within this family of nations, including Ireland’s enduring bonds with a Commonwealth of 54 nations, 32 of which are republics. During these challenging times, the Irish diaspora continue to play a crucial role in sustaining family, social, and business connections. This is especially evident in Ireland’s association with the Commonwealth. As Ireland’s President, Michael D. Higgins, has recently noted, there is a growing priority for a ‘Shared Ireland, Shared Island’ in which all can live in harmony, whilst safeguarding and deepening Ireland’s warm relationships with the communities of the UK and the wider world, so as to strengthen international and inter-communal relations. In recent years, RCS Ireland has promoted and advanced the links between our country and the Commonwealth of nations. Such associations are even more essential, further to the UK’s departure from the European Union. The Commonwealth provides opportunities for people, governments and institutions across a global association of nations that connect and cooperate on various levels through far-reaching and deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill. RCS Ireland has initiated and held a range of events to promote Ireland within the Commonwealth over several years. These have included functions with the support of several Commonwealth Embassies in Ireland. This includes the Indian Embassy in 2020, hosted by H.E. Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Ambassador of the Republic of India in Ireland. Large numbers of diplomates, politicians, academics, business representatives, sporting personalities, and others outlined the benefits of Irish links with the Commonwealth. Other RCS Ireland events in recent years have involved the hosting of a large function at the UK’s House of Lords in London, where an international Commonwealth delegation enjoyed a showcase of Ireland’s enduring relationship with the Commonwealth. Speeches were delivered by then Irish Senator Frank Feighan, Director of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Mr McGrane, and then President of the RCS Lord Howell. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria H.E. (Dr) Mrs. Emenike spoke at an RCS Ireland Commonwealth Day 2019 event, where she emphasised the wonderful benefits experienced by countries who share membership of the Commonwealth. She also highlighted the common values and social bonds that are shared across each country in the Commonwealth, including democracy, human rights, tolerance and respect, sustainable development, and protecting the environment. During the same year, Mr John O’Keeffe, President of Diageo Africa supported the RCS Ireland by offering an outstanding presentation on the business ties between Ireland and Commonwealth countries, with particular emphasis on the trade and cultural links between Diageo and Nigeria. He noted the many future business, economic, and social opportunities that exist for Ireland in developing further associations with the Commonwealth. In 2018, Mr Neale Richmond, TD (then Senator) spoke to RCS Ireland about how the Commonwealth would offer Ireland opportunities in many areas, particularly sport. Irish competitors from the North and the South such as Mary Peters, Barry McGuigan and Paddy Barnes have achieved great success in previous games. He added that he looks forward to cheering on the Northern Irish athletes at the Gold Coast games… and one day hopes to see Irish athletes from across our island competing in what are the second largest games in the world. RCS Ireland were honoured to welcome Ireland’s Commonwealth Ambassadors to Leinster House in Dublin in 2017. Held at Ireland’s Government Buildings, the event served to highlight and strengthen the enduring bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations. The delegation met with several Irish parliamentarians to discuss trade, sport, culture and international relations. The gathering concluded with a formal meal and a commitment to develop Ireland’s association with the Commonwealth. That year’s RCS Ireland Commonwealth Day event also witnessed H.E. Dr Rizwan, Pakistani Ambassador to Ireland note that, Ireland, like Pakistan, is a proud Republic. Countries of the modern Commonwealth of nations, he stated, share so much with each other and have so much to give and receive from each other. RCS Ireland send all in Ireland and across the Commonwealth our best regards for a Happy Commonwealth Day 2021. We also wish you well during these challenging times of COVID-19. The above examples illustrate just some of the many events held by RCS Ireland in recent years. We look forward to undertaking new and dynamic events to promote Irish associations with the Commonwealth in the coming year. Find out more about the Royal Commonwealth Society, Ireland Branch The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.