Dublin, 10 January 2012: Tomorrow, 11 January 2012, European Movement Ireland celebrates the 58th anniversary of the founding of the organisation. The oldest Irish organisation dealing with the EU, pre-dating Ireland’s membership of the EU in 1973 by almost twenty years, today European Movement Ireland continues to campaign for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and fair debate.
EM Ireland’s birthday falls one week before the 50th anniversary of the address made in Brussels on 18 January 1962 by then-Taoiseach Seán Lemass, to the Governments of the six European Community members, three days before the opening of Ireland’s accession negotiations.
Looking ahead to this anniversary, and reflecting on the past 39 years of Irish membership of the EU, Executive Director Noelle O’Connell today paid tribute to European Movement Ireland’s founders and acknowledged the challenges that Ireland’s relationship with Europe has faced during the organisation’s lifetime: “Fifty years ago, Seán Lemass asserted that ‘Ireland belongs to Europe by history, tradition and sentiment no less than by geography.’ Today, that statement is complicated by a myriad of economic and political challenges. Ireland’s relationship with the EU has reached a critical juncture. We are all increasingly aware of Ireland’s role in the EU today and, more particularly, the role that the EU plays in Irish domestic affairs. More than ever, European Movement Ireland has an extremely important role to play in ensuring a reasoned, robust and fair debate is taking place about these issues, both at a political level as well as among the general public.”