how it started

WATCH: Open Newsroom - Ireland and the EU after 50 years together

Watch our webinar on how Ireland found itself at the heart of the EU 50 years ago – and how it’s working for us now. / YouTube

THIS MONTH, THE Good Information Project has been looking closely at five decades of Irish integration with the European project. In 1972, a large majority of Irish citizens voted to join the-then European Economic Community (EEC), which of course later became the European Union.

Joining Journal Media’s Managing Editor Susan Daly to discuss how sentiment towards, and the impact of the EU, has changed on Ireland were two expert panellists, each with respective experience of Ireland in the EU at the beginning, and in the current day.

Fionnuala Richardson campaigned for a ‘No’ vote in the European referendum of 1972 on behalf of the Labour party – who, she said, were concerned about the impact on native industry of joining the common market and what that meant for the ordinary worker, among other things. When the referendum passed with a significant ‘Yes’, Labour MEPs took their seats among the Socialist grouping in the parliament, then in Luxembourg. 

Hear Fionnuala describe the atmosphere in the institution at that time, the huge diplomatic and cultural sensitivities at play with countries who, not a few decades earlier, had sat across enemy lines from each other in World War II, and how the economic objectives of the bloc began to gradually take on a face of social change and conscience.

Our other panellist was Barry Colfer, Director of Research at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), and hugely respected academic on European integration and other aspects of how the EU and its institutions function (he has also worked in the Irish, British and European parliaments). 

Watch our playback video for Barry’s take on the role of the EU as a peace project, on the best and worst times for the Union and its parliamentarians and on Ireland’s status in Europe post-Brexit.

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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