Ambassador accuses British magazine of 'hostile' anti-Irish attack

Ireland's ambassador to Britain has hit out at a British political magazine for saying "little Leo" should back down and "rejoin the commonwealth", accusing the publication of a "hostile" anti-Irish attack which should be consigned to the past.

Ambassador Adrian O'Neill wrote to the editor of Spectator magazine in response to a recent pro-Brexit column in the publication, before releasing the correspondence on social media when the magazine failed to print it in full.

In an opinion piece published earlier this week by the Spectator, the Daily Mail's royal correspondent Robert Hardman criticised Ireland's decision to join a French-led group called the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

Referring to it as the "French commonwealth", Mr Hardman said it was "two fingers to Brexit Britain" and that "little Leo" should re-join the British commonwealth instead.

Only the mean-spirited would suggest little Leo will do anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground. He is going to need to, of course, if he wants to hang onto his nation's cosy corporate tax deals once the Brits are no longer around to help.

He added the only reason Ireland is refusing to rejoin the commonwealth is because this country "was once run by the Brits".

Ireland's ambassador to Britain Mr O'Neill responded with a letter to Spectator saying the remarks were anti-Irish, "snide and hostile", before releasing it on social media when it was not published in full.

While saying he is "not unduly thin-skinned" and that Brexit has undeniably placed some pressure on Anglo-Irish relations, Mr O'Neill wrote that some British criticism "has lapsed into an anti-Irish sentiment which we all hoped had been consigned to the past".The Spectator is a Conservatives-leaning, Eurosceptic political magazine, whose former editors include Tory MP Boris Johnson.

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