Ireland's relations with the EEC: from the treaties of Rome to membership
journal contributionposted on 31.08.2006, 15:39 by Maurice Fitzgerald
Ireland's accession to the European Communities in 1973 had internal and external connotations. Domestically, it was not just a stage in a dynamic new set of relations, it also marked the climax of a fifteen year process that saw its economy, polity and society transformed from being closed and protected into becoming part of an entity that was more open and liberalised. In international terms, Ireland's entry was doubly significant because it was not only among the first wave of enlargement countries, it was also classed as a peripheral. Although full membership was never inevitable, Irish dependence upon the United Kingdom meant that it was widely recognised, at home and abroad, as a necessary and suitable addition to this European integration structure. This conclusion was only reached at Ireland's third time of asking; thus, credit is due to the foresight and fortitude of a number of actors at all levels who were determined to see that it succeeded.
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