Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has suggested the compulsory teaching of Irish history in Britain. 

He said a few former Eton and Oxford students who have contributed vocally, "if not sensibly", to the Brexit debate, could do with a crash course in the lessons of Irish history.

"I want to say that the decision to downgrade history in our secondary schools and to make it a non-compulsory subject was short-sighted and quite frankly ill-considered...I know that the current Minister for Education is revisiting this decision..."

"I am tempted to say that the compulsory teaching of Irish history should also be included on the syllabus in Britain! 

"One of the many major disappointments of the Brexit debate is the sheer ignorance (and sometimes arrogance) of the realities of Irish history and Irish political affairs, as expressed by some Brexiteers," said Mr Ahern.  

Mr Ahern also said Brexit cannot be allowed to unravel the good work of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Speaking at an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 General Election, he said 20 years ago the people of this island voted for a shared future that would be based on democratic ideals and would underpin a new era of prosperity and progress for everyone.

He said the 1918 General Election in Ireland gave rise to the Dáil and the democratic institutions on this island, but, on the same day that Dáil sat for the first time, on 21 January 1919, the first shots rang out in the War of Independence.

"It is right that we never forget our history and we remember, a centenary on, those who fought for or campaigned to vindicate the Irish people’s right to self-determination," Mr Ahern said.

He added that it was this generation’s duty to ensure that it leaves a lasting political framework on this island.

Mr Ahern said this would mean no-one will ever again have to fight or die for Ireland’s sake and that all of the people on this island can live in peace.