Speaking at the recent Economic Conference on Brexit in Killarney the Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster called for further strengthening of the ties between the two states on this island.
Ms Foster said there are more things to unite than divide Britain and Ireland as the UK prepares to split from Europe and said she planned to raise the prospect enhancing Anglo-Irish relations when she meets Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.
During her speech the DUP leader said the vote by the UK electorate to leave the EU should not be allowed to weaken the relationships so painstakingly put together “across these British Isles”.
This was no slip of the tongue, as the term was used many times during the course of her speech.
Such Anglo-centric references suggests that Ms Foster regards Ireland as independent only in an abstract, benign, technical sense.
It is a reference that questions the very legitimacy of the Irish State as a political entity separate from Britain and is detrimental to the enhancement of friendly Anglo-Irish relations.
The ‘British Isles’ is not an officially recognised term in this jurisdiction and is without official status.
The Government, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, do not use this term. Nor should the former First Minister.