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50 years and four days in the European Union today

  • 01-01-2023 11:34pm
    Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,545 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    Today marks the 50th anniversary of the second most important event since the foundation of the State in 1921: Ireland’s accession to the EU (then known as the EEC) on January 1st 1973.

    The UK and Denmark also joined the EU on this day 50 years ago which expanded the membership of the EEC from six to nine Member States, marking the first expansion since the Treaty of Rome in 1957.

    In my own humble opinion, Ireland’s membership of the EU transformed our economy and society for the better, raising living standards immeasurably, improving our quality of life and transforming our society with respect to equality and tolerant, educated and open-minded attitudes.

    One of the first things Ireland did after EU membership in 1973 was to abolish the civil service/public sector marriage bar, where women had to leave their jobs once they were married. This was a pre-condition of EU membership.

    Many significant changes in terms of our then Third World infrastructure in transportation and telecommunications took place between 1975 and 2000 with the support of a massive injection of funds from Brussels as we were a poor country by Western European standards, with a GNP per capita less than 60 per cent of the EU average at the time of joining.

    Investment in education, particularly at third level, with the assistance of the EU regional development fund helped lay a critical foundation for our Celtic Tiger economic transformation and massive FDI in information technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and financial services which propelled Ireland from an industrialising but still very fragile economy in 1973 into the wealthy country that Ireland is today.

    We owe much of our success to EU membership and being part of the European project. The UK of course has left the EU via Brexit and the results of that move have become apparent.

    What do you make of our half century in the EU? Has is been good - or bad?

    Where do you see Ireland going over the next 50 years as a EU member?

    Post edited by Beasty on



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    Overwhelmingly good.

    We're not perfect, and the EU is not perfect, but Ireland has gone from a economically dysfunctional semi-theocracy to one of the world's wealthiest countries (with a bright future I might add) in those 50 years.

    It would not have happened without EEC/EC/EU membership. Simple as that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,426 ✭✭✭✭

    The advances in Ireland would have occurred anyway without EU membership. Pretending otherwise is propaganda.

    The country was poor due to the insular economic policies pre-Lemass. This was already changing prior to EU membership with the opening of the economy and move away from protectionism.

    Like most of the other small open rich economirs in the world economies - Iceland, Singapore, Switzerland... - Ireland would as wealthy as it is now thanks to globalisation which suits us most.

    I'm not saying there is no benefit to a single market. It has some benefit but be under no illusion as to where our bread is buttered and why we excel. It's not the EU or the UK, it's the US.

    And guess who hates the knife that butters our bread most - the EU Commission.

    Next 50 years? The way sovereignty is being systematically taken ensures there won't be another 25 years, never mind 50 years.

    The only hope for the EU is to stop ever closer integration.

  • Posts: 17,381 [Deleted User]

    The US invested heavily in Ireland because it's in the EU, Kermit. You know this, and the fact you will spend the next four months claiming otherwise is why this thread is already ruined.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    The advances in Ireland would have occurred anyway without EU membership. Pretending otherwise is propaganda.

    Sorry not sorry, but absolute nonsense. Our entire economic model is premised on being an EU member.

    If you could imagine up a credible economic model that would have seen us get to where we are today without EU membership and structural funds etc, I'd love to hear it.

    Magical thinking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,149 ✭✭✭✭elperello

    We got a lot of good environmental legislation from the EU.

    That's a plus but our own governments have often dragged their heels on implementation and enforcement.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,426 ✭✭✭✭

    Our entire economic model is North Atlantic, low tax, free trade. That's the reason for this country's wealth.

    The worst thing about EU propaganda (and you see it in the replies already) is that it's intention is to degrade the belief amongst the public.

    The argument is essentially that, in Ireland's case, we are not capable of running our own country.

    I don't believe that for a second and I think it's more than sad that this is the self-debasing rubbish our population is subjected to routinely by our media and politicians and parroted by members of the public who have been hopelessly propagandised.

    It's not true today and it's never been true.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    We do run our own country. Yes, we have free trade, as part of a bloc that are rule-makers to rule-takers like Switzerland and Iceland in the EEA. There's not a damn thing that countries like those can do about trading standards they have to adhere to for market access, and you want Ireland to join the eunuch club outside the tent because of some woolly Gemma O'Doherty-esque notions of sovereignity and your misapprehensions about it.

    We have free trade as part of a bloc that has outsized negotiating power with the likes of Japan and South Korea. You think Ireland could negotiate favourable bilateral open-trade terms with these countries? Lay off the LSD.

    You're already in the thicket of conspiracy theory with your language.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    A lot of what we have today is modernity. This would have happened either way.

    If we hadn't joined the EEC, we would have had to search for an apply a different economic model. Brendan Ryan, I think it was, made the claim several years back that the EEC/EC got more value back in fish from Irish waters than they put into Irish infrastructure. Whether he was right or not I cannot tell, but there is certainly an interesting discussion there.

    I'm in favour of our membership because it decoupled us to some extent from our closest neighbour, although thinking in our Public Service is still very much influenced by what they do in the UK (actually in GB, or even plain old England). If GB continues to go it alone, we will see further decoupling in years to come; although curiously since Brexit occurred I get the impression that British retail has been making a big effort to keep us tied into their market area via shops such as Home Savers, Eurogiant and the like.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,378 ✭✭✭✭kippy

    I don't think that's the argument at all, however there are plenty examples of poor running of the country if you wanted to look, the same as almost any country.

    Joining the single market has been transformative for the country. I really don't see how we would have managed to get the massive amount of multinational investment over the past five decades if we weren't in the EU. That and the implementation of many new regulations in relation to employment, the environment etc have also transformed the country, never mind the amount of capital investment that has happened.

    The EU is a big driver of 'globalisation' in the first instance and as you've said we would be worse off without it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,636 ✭✭✭✭One eyed Jack

    I’m curious to know what was the FIRST most important event? 🤔

    That aside, membership of the EU has brought its advantages, and disadvantages. It’s certainly better for a tiny country like Ireland to be a member of a large international community, but for a large country like the UK, France, Germany, I think it’s far too soon to predict how things will work out for the UK in the long term, based upon the current mess they’re in.

    Where do I see Ireland going over the next 50 years as an EU member? An even greater wealth gap in Irish society, an Irish Government praying for more investment from the Chinese because the Americans have left and the EU says we’re not getting any more infrastructure funding, we’re obligated to contribute to an investment in improving the infrastructure of new member countries from Eastern Europe.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,162 ✭✭✭Silentcorner

    You know, the poster made some good points that maybe a lot of us hadn't thought about, how has Iceland or New Zealand managed so well outside the EU, we are geographically better placed than both those countries. To suggest the thread is already ruined because you don't like an opinion is a bit hysterical.

    That being said, I am very much pro EU, purely on the basis that we aren't capable of self governance over a prolonged period, we don't have the mechanisms in place (political system, media infrastructure) to provide economic stability to our citizens. We have a seriously unbalanced economy (geographically) that is purely our own fault. We have experienced huge emigration since the foundation of the state, and even though things look very rosy for some now, the future may not be, the elements that have made us attractive before are starting to fade, the amount and size of global companies may have peaked.

    We probably owe our wealth to Globalism and our unique Corporate tax rate.

    The EU has some reflecting to do, there is a movement in countries to push back from the excesses of bureaucracy, we will never push back of course, just like we were obsessed with being the best Catholics in the world, we are seemingly now obsessed with being the best boys in the EU class...but other nations won't tolerate the encroachment of social and economic issues, the political system will have to demonstrate more flexibility if it is to last long term, which I don't doubt it will.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,777 ✭✭✭fly_agaric

    Kermit, don't think you should get to state something like 1st sentence and claim an opposing view is just "propaganda" like you are an all-seeing and knowing oracle.

    Membership of EEC was a part of abandoning isolationist policies, it is not some separate thing which was unconnected.

    Singapore is quite useless to compare to Ireland IMO. Those other small rich European countries are all heavily involved in the EU structures/machinery you despise even if they aren't full members like us. In addition Switzerland in particular seems a poor European "control" for Ireland. It is in the middle of Western Europe, has not been a weak and poor colony of a Great Power, it has been rich and developed for a long time.

    There's a contradiction also when you are blaming the "EU Commission" (or any other part of the EU) for somehow getting in the way of good business we are doing with the US MNCs in that a necessary component of our usefulness to the same MNCs is being well attached to and acting as gateway to rest of that big market esp. post Brexit.

    That requires probably Single Market and Customs Union membership at a minimum. We can't just plow our own furrow in Europe like you seem to believe is possible.

    Looking ahead, I am a bit pessimistic (generally - not about our EU membership!). It is a depressing looking future we are facing into, where perhaps globalisation and the sets of international rules "everyone" follows start to break down and raw power, zero sum games and interstate competition right up to warfare again become more important.

    This environment may not be kind to small states totally out on their own. Europe is full of such very small and medium sized states. They get relatively smaller and weaker every year as both the populations and economic importance and power of the "non European" parts of the world rise. They are perhaps going to need to stick together (ever!) more closely in future during this century when dealing with the RotW like it or not (and I know you won't, going by posts!), needs must when the devil drives.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    We are significantly wealthier than NZ on average and in absolute terms.

    Iceland has a population less than County Cork on an island the same size as ours and more or less free energy to power industries like aluminium smelting which is an astonishing export earner and contributer to GDP. Fun fact: Iceland produces about as much aluminium as the US.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,426 ✭✭✭✭

    I was just about to mention the Catholic Church incidentally. The whole attitude in a good chunk of Irish society today towards the EU mirrors the unquestioning devotion and acceptance of the Catholic Church in the middle of the last century.

    This is really unhealthy.

    The main beneficiaries of the EU are the politicians. Plenty more jobs for them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,776 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    You are, as almost always, talking absolute b0ll0cks.

    The EU itself was the catalyst to globalisation.

    The only reason we attracted such an amount of FDI, was because we were a well educated anglophone nation *INSIDE* the biggest single market in the World.

    Norway had masses and masses of fossil fuels. Switzerland had masses and masses of other people's money.

    Do you know what we had masses of in 1973?


    Without the investment benefits of the EU, without learnings and support from old Europe, without cohesion funds, without the profile being in the EEC/EU gave Ireland globally, we could NEVER have built the infrastructure and the platform to capitalise on FDI in the way we have.

    Your misunderstanding of the geo-political circumstances which set the scene for our open, educated, dynamic and flexible economy - that being at the heart of the EU - is so breathtaking its obtuse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    Who here is completely uncritical of the EU? Zero posters.

    You've come in here swinging a bat refusing to accept the bald fact that the institution is an overwhelming net good for the country - and have set out your stall as if we're being dictated to like we're a Soviet satellite state. That's nonsense, and nobody is entirely uncritical of it.

    Silly stuff.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,545 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    First most important event post-independence? IMO the declaration of the Republic of Ireland in 1948/49.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,378 ✭✭✭✭kippy

    I don't believe that to be true. You only have to look at your own soapboxing on this.

    EU membership has been overwhelmingly positive for the country and it's citizens. While there have been some drawbacks.

    Without the EU we don't get the globalisation benefits.

  • Posts: 17,381 [Deleted User]

    It isn't hysterical. I've watched him ruin a dozen other threads over the years when it's got anything to do with the EU. He comes in every month or two saying Ireland is will be forced out of the Single Market within a year, and he's been doing this since 2016. It's his childhood dream that it happens and he pretends to be worried about it happening.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,636 ✭✭✭✭One eyed Jack

    Ok I was way off, I was thinking either marriage equality, or Riverdance 😂

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 36,982 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Jesus, we couldn't even mark Ireland's 50-year anniversary without someone spouting Q-grade drivel...

    In the meantime, support for rejoining in the UK is surging. Happy anniversary!

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,162 ✭✭✭Silentcorner

    Ah the tolerance of the Irish eh, a sight to behold!!!

    And if the people if the UK successfully lobby their politicians to offer an other referendum to rejoin the EU will you accept the result of it? Or will you spit insults at the ordinary people of the UK like so many on here do depending on which way they vote!

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    If the people of the UK pass-up an opportunity to rejoin the EU after everything we know since 2016, they really will deserve to be the butt of all jokes until the end of time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,246 ✭✭✭✭Dyr

    The EU hasnt been in existence for 50 years.

    I'd imagine there was similar advertising pushes about how great the Union was for Paddy and how lucky we were to be loyal subjects of the crown

    I see boards resident europhile is banging his brexit drum again, oddly enough he still lives in the UK, despite it being doomed the moment it voted to leave the EU. 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    We can leave the EU any time we please. There is no serious movement to do so because our membership is objectively a massive source of our national prosperity, and to leave would be the most idiotic act of economic self harm since...well since the UK left the EU.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,162 ✭✭✭Silentcorner

    We can?? Didn't we have to run a few EU referendums over again until we got the right answer in the not too distant past.

    There is no serious movement to do so thankfully that been said.

    I don't think anyone who has a grasp of Irish history would suggest we leave the EU...we aren't capable of self governance, we aren't like other normal nations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,222 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    When are the EU going to "sell Ireland down the road and boot us out of the single market" ?

    Remember when rambled on about that every few months and then disappeared with your tail between your legs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    We do govern ourselves. We are not governed by the EU.

    The above sausage rhetoric you posted was one of the reasons the UK got themselves into the unholy mess they got themselves in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,426 ✭✭✭✭

    Unless the UK accept the segregation of NI in to the EU customs union there is no other option than for Ireland to exit. That's not Ireland's choice. It's not the EU's choice either. That happens by default.

    Now is there a chance the unionists will take what's given? Possible but I think doubtful.

    The same pressure to avoid a land border is just as much on Ireland as it is the UK.

    People seem to overlook this.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,162 ✭✭✭Silentcorner

    Sausage rhetoric?????

    I'm as pro EU as you can get, not for one second would I consider voting to leave the EU...your hostility to my opinion is a bit odd tho...another tolerant Irish person no doubt!!!!