Ireland and Canada: Our complex past points to a bright future

Published Date: January 11th, 2022

Author: ICCC Montreal Office

By Dr. Eamonn McKee, Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada

‘Both countries are on journeys of reconciliation, approaching the problems of today that have their roots in the past’

All diplomats work within a bilateral environment defined by politics. Those political narratives tend to have a long narrative arc. What’s fascinating about the Irish-Canadian relationship is that we’re living through a shift in that narrative. That shift points to a bright future.

Since it’s my job to promote good relations, your response might be, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he.” I have a strong case, however, and can point to three specific events that shifted our narrative, namely 1867, 1916, and 2011.

No prizes for any Canadian who knows the significance of 1867. It was the year of Confederation, when Canada became a nation with its own Parliament. Albeit under the English Crown, Canada was led to this point by the founding fathers, chief among them Irishman Thomas D’Arcy McGee, a passionate advocate of Canadian nationalism…

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