10 SEPTEMBER 1948, Page 2

Eire and Isolation

It may be doubted whether the announcement by Mr. Costello, the Prime Minister of Eire, that his country is about to break its last link with the British Commonwealth was calculated to arouse much sympathy in Ottawa, where he made it. 'By the External Relations Act of 1936 the King remained for Eire the supreme autho-

rity in regard to external relations—the making of treaties and diplo- matic and consular appointments. It is perhaps not surprising that Eire, which has abandoned completely any form of membership of the British Commonwealth, should decide to repeal the Act. But it is idle for Mr. Costello to try to chaffer a strategic agreement against the abolition of partition. Partition in a country the size of Ireland is regrettable on many grounds, and nothing could be more satis- factory than its termination by a free agreement between Northern Ireland and Eire. But every fresh step Eire takes away from the Commonwealth inevitably makes the resolve of Northern Ireland to resist union with Eire more immutable than ever. Northern Ireland is determined to remain within the Commonwealth ; Eire is deter, mined to part company with it. No British Government of whatever colour could conceivably attempt to press Ulster, in return for strategic or any other advantages, to take a step which might mean that as a minority in Ireland she would be carried out of the Commonwealth against her will. Mr. Costello, incidentally, might consider that a strategic agreement with Great Britain would not be for Britain's advantage only—or primarily ; " Sinn Fein" is a poort slogan in the international field.