RCS Ireland Welcomes Commonwealth Ambassadors at Government Buildings, Dublin


RCS Ireland were honoured to welcome Ireland’s Commonwealth Ambassadors to Leinster House in Dublin. Held at Ireland’s Government Buildings, the event served to highlight and strengthen the enduring bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations.


With Senator Feighan as our host, the delegation meet 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.


RCS Ireland holds Commonwealth Event at the House of Lords



We look back at the recent Royal Commonwealth Society international meeting for RCS Branches in London. The meeting was preceded by a two day youth programme. The purpose of the week was to support the future of RCS networks, share experiences and knowledge and to facilitate interaction and relationship-building between branches, youth groups and the RCS in London.

The youth programme provided a platform for young people to connect with like-minded individuals, build leadership skills and identify how to instigate change in the Commonwealth. Opportunity was created to feed into the branch programme and to connect with branch members and RCS Regional Co-ordinators. Read the blog written by youth delegate and the RCS Youth Regional Co-ordinator for Africa, Gideon Commey.

The three day branch programme, attended by 81 delegates from 30 branches around the world and was opened by RCS President, Lord Howell and followed with a day of branch-lead sessions, kindly hosted by the High Commission of New Zealand. Day two addressed the programmes, research & policy and youth & education work of the Society and included speakers from RCS partners The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and Comic Relief. On the third morning, delegates were pleased to attend sessions, kindly run by experts on Communications, Fundraising, Brand and The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Outside of the meetings delegates were invited to a magnificent concert given by ABRSM, to a tour of Westminster Abbey and to Afternoon Tea at the House of Lords, sponsored by RCS Ireland Branch.

The RCS is grateful to the High Commissions of Australia, Canada, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria and Zambia for their support and hospitality.

The Youth Programme, Branch Programme and Speaker Biographies are available to read online or to download. Notes from the meeting are available to branch members on request as are some of the presentations.

RCS Ireland closed the international meeting with a special event at the House of Lords, with the support of Lord Rana and Lord Howell. The gathering saw a large international Commonwealth delegation enjoy a showcase of Ireland’s enduring relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations. Speeches were delivered by Irish Senator Feighan, Director of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Mr McGrane, and Lord Howell, President of the RCS.


RCS International Branch Meetings were previously held every second year. On hold since 2013, during the period of change in London, all were delighted at the opportunity to resume the biennial programme.

Article sourced in part from www.thercs.org

Pakistani Ambassador to Ireland discusses Ireland’s relationship with the Commonwealth

HE Dr Rizwan, Pakistani Ambassador to Ireland hosted a special event in Dublin on 13 March 2017. The occasion marked Commonwealth Day and mirrored events around the world that celebrated the values and work of the modern Commonwealth of Nations. Ambassador Rizwan emphasised the shared heritage that Ireland holds with member-nations within the Commonwealth.


Ambassador Rizwan added that across history, nations and peoples throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa have settled and influenced other nations. These practices reflect the context of wealth, culture, and societies at those times in history. However, Ireland, like Pakistan, is a proud Republic and the countries of the modern Commonwealth of Nations share so much with each other and have so much to give and receive from each other.


He emphasised that like any other Commonwealth country, Ireland, though a former member of the Commonwealth, is linked with those in the Commonwealth in so many ways. Ireland, along with all Commonwealth countries, shares an appreciation for science, rationality and human rights; along with shared parliamentary values, and common language, legal, commercial, business, sporting and trade connections.


The Ambassador closed by remarking that by coming together for the common good, the development of peace, harmony and progress through cooperation can thrive.


2017 Commonwealth Day Celebrated in Dublin, Ireland

Commonwealth Day was celebrated around the world on 13 March 2017. Ireland has a rich and lasting relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations, with the majority of Irish aboard living in nations that are members of the Commonwealth. In collaboration with RCS Ireland, the Pakistani Embassy in Dublin hosted a special event to mark the occasion. The large delegation included many Ambassadors and representatives from Embassies in Ireland, which represent nations within the Commonwealth. Several Irish parliamentarians, Irish diplomats, academics, and supporters also attended. Excellent speeches were delivered by the Pakistani Ambassador, Irish Senator Neale Richmond, and the British Deputy Head of Mission in Ireland. Lord Rana, as Patron of RCS Ireland also offered his support. Currently travelling in India to promote education and peace, Lord Rana was unable to attend the event in person. However, he offered the following remarks in an official written statement:

Hon’ble Chairman, Hon’ble Diplomats, officials of the Republic of Ireland, members of the RCS, Ladies & Gentlemen.

I would like to express my heartiest best wishes to you all attending the Commonwealth Day celebrations in Dublin, being hosted by the Ambassador of Pakistan, in collaboration with RCS Ireland. I wish I could have been with you all today, but regrettably I am unable to attend due to commitments in India.

Celebrating Commonwealth day on 13 March has another interesting dimension in India. Today is the “Holi Festival Day”, a festival of colours, where people celebrate the beginning of spring weather by playing with colours with each other’s family, friends and strangers. It’s celebrating the colourful world we live in. It is celebrating diversity, multicultural and multi religious world that we are part of, and which is best represented by the Commonwealth.

I am a great believer in the Commonwealth, which is a unique, multicultural, multi-institutional organisation spanning six continents of the world, bringing together nearly one-third of the world’s population and promoting multi-identity. An organisation of 52 nations, it contains 31 Republics, three of which are also members of the European Union. I have been sponsoring various talks, dinners and meetings for nearly 20 years on the subject of the “Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth”. I remain genuinely convinced that  the Commonwealth would be of great benefit to Ireland; and that the Commonwealth would be strengthened with Ireland’s input.  Dublin’s Lord Mayor and City Council has already extended its support to the establishment of the Commonwealth Society in Ireland, during the official launch at the Mansion House three years ago.

Approximately 60% of the Commonwealth population are under the age of 30, and the majority of them live in developing countries. The best way to counter terrorism and civil unrest is through dialogue and education. The role of education in promoting peace, democracy and respect for each other is essential in shaping these young minds as they are the future of our world. As these countries grow their economies, the Commonwealth will become a very powerful economic organisation.

As we mark Commonwealth Day in Dublin, we might note the 2017 Commonwealth theme, which is “A Peace Building Commonwealth.” My charitable trust is in the process of establishing an Institute for Conflict Resolution Practice in Punjab (India) where we have founded and funded an Education Campus, to bring higher education within the reach of students from the poor families in rural Punjab <www.cordia.edu.in>. This institute will have presence not only in India, but in Northern Ireland as well. The intention is to put into practice the recommendations of the 2007 Commonwealth report “Civil Paths to Peace, Respect and Understanding.” Ireland retains enduring links with the Commonwealth of Nations and we look forward to building on these rich and mutually beneficial bonds.


Have a wonderful day, and my regrets for not able to be with you in person.

I wish you all a great Commonwealth Day.

Lord Rana MBE (Baron of Malone)

RCS Ireland & Commonwealth Day 2016

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The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Ireland Branch had the pleasure of marking this year’s Commonwealth Day at the Commonwealth Service, held at Westminster Abbey in London on 14 March. Representatives from RCS Ireland were honoured to participate in the event, which is the largest multi-faith celebration in Britain and Ireland.

This annual service features a mixture of testimonies, readings, and musical performances. Each year the Service is based around an annual Commonwealth Theme. For 2016, the theme was ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, inviting citizens to consider what it means to live in a diverse yet equitable, fair and tolerant international community.

This year’s Commonwealth Day service was attended by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma; as well as the Head of the Commonwealth, who is the figure head and symbol of the free association of the 53 nations that make up the Commonwealth of Nations, 32 of which are Republics. Other delegates include High Commissioners and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth, as well as senior politicians and 1,000 school children.

The RCS organises the Service on behalf of a group of Commonwealth organisations, known as the Council of Commonwealth Societies. Commonwealth Day has been celebrated across the Commonwealth, every year since the 1970s. The event celebrates the unity, diversity and links of the modern Commonwealth and fosters greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly among young people.

As a former member of the Commonwealth, Ireland retains strong links across this association of independent nations. RCS Ireland works to promote awareness of the enduring bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth, including trade, culture, sports, arts and history. RCS Ireland is also pleased to note that the Commonwealth Youth Games will be held on the island of Ireland in 2021.

Christmas message from RCS Ireland

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Dear Colleagues and Friends;

RCS Ireland wish all our friends and supporters a Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the progress of our Branch over the past year. 2015 saw our successful launch at the Mansion House in Dublin, so generously hosted and addressed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and his team at Dublin City Council. An array of highly distinguished delegates and speakers were in attendance and we were also honoured to be joined by our colleagues and friends from the RCS in London, which included Lord Howell and his delegation. In addition, the event received significant public interest, due to coverage in the media.

The Executive Officer of RCS Ireland had the pleasure of meeting Prince Charles, during his visit to Ireland this year. It was a delight to receive his words of encouragement for the continued success of RCS Ireland. His remarks reflected the transformative work we hope to promote, by building bridges and forstering truly respectful and mutually beneficial relationships between Ireland and the great community of nations that is the Commonwealth.

Furthermore, this year saw the appointment of our Patron, The Rt Hon The Lord Rana, Baron of Malone. We are truly honoured to welcome Lord Rana to his new position. He has been a strong supporter of relationships between Ireland, India, and the wider Commonwealth for many years. We look forward to his involvement with RCS Ireland in the months and years ahead.

It was a pleasure to launch our website (rcsireland.org) in 2015, where you will find links to our active Twitter and Facebook accounts. We have also been delighted by the many expressions of good will and active support from national and international civic, political, business, artistic and academic organisations and individuals.

As 2015 comes to a close, we have been busy working on a range of projects to acheive our aims, with progress on a number of fronts. With your continued support we plan to build on what we have achieved thus far. We now look forward to the year ahead with excitement, as we continue to promote the bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Please feel free to stay in touch with us in the year ahead and we look forward to keeping you updated as to our progress in 2016. For now, in true Commonwealth Spirit, and with every good wish, we sign off in fellowship.

Patricia & the Team in RCS Ireland

Sean O’Grady “The Commonwealth is liberal, lefty and more needed than ever” The Independent


Sean O’Grady “The Commonwealth is liberal, lefty and more needed than ever” The Independent




“…..And so it is a small force for good in a fractured world, and its informal, loose, soft diplomacy may well achieve some results. In recent years the Commonwealth has set its bounds wider still and wider, accepting nations with little or no colonial link to Britain – Mozambique, Cameroon and Rwanda and maybe more. Burma, Ireland and Palestine would surely be welcome, too…..”


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Malta 2015 draws to a close

Prime Minister of Malta, Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat expressed his satisfaction at how Commonwealth leaders have managed to converge and agree almost unanimously on the issue of climate change as well as migration. He also stated that despite the differences between Commonwealth countries’ points of view, CHOGM Malta 2015 was evidence of how constructive conversations can occur. “Silence has never helped anyone in changing and getting things to change”, he remarked. Finally, Muscat also thanked all those involved in the organisation of this high-profile event.

President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta stated that the topics discussed during this Commonwealth meeting are not solely concerns for Commonwealth countries but of the entire globe with peace and security issues at the forefront along with climate change. He also commended the way young people were given ample space to put forward their suggestions on such important global issues.

HE Baron Waqa, President of Nauru said that this was a gathering of some of the biggest, smallest, wealthiest and poorest nations and although it might be intimidating discussing certain concepts with countries larger than one’s own, all of the nations have the ability to play their part. He also noted that ‘The issue of Climate Change should not be hijacked by the occurrences during the last few weeks’.

Ghanaian President, HE John Dramani Mahama noted that the Valletta Summit on Migration and CHOGM Malta 2015 dovetail into each other. There is a lot that we can learn from this Commonwealth Meeting mainly how we can increase cooperation and embrace the values of good governance and democracy.

RT Hon. Jerome Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, described how this meeting reinforced the relevance of the Commonwealth. He emphasised how as a citizen of the Caribbean region, climate change is one of his main concerns. He noted that ‘when the planet speaks, we have no choice but to listen. And the planet is speaking to us with certain eloquence’.

Finally, outgoing Secretary General HE Kamalesh Sharma recounted this as a ‘memorable and water-shed CHOGM with the Commonwealth establishing an ambitious threshold for the coming years and a force creating global good’.