EM Ireland reflects on 50 years since air crash claimed the life of its former Director, Michael Sweetman
As we mark the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s EEC accession referendum which took place 10 May 1972, it was a seminal moment in Irish history. Today, European Movement Ireland paid tribute to one if its former Chief Executives, the late Michael Sweetman on the 50th anniversary since the Staines Air Disaster which claimed the life of Mr Sweetman.
On 18 June 1972, a flight to Brussels crashed outside Staines, England, resulting in the tragic deaths of 118 people, including an Irish business delegation of 12 businessmen from Ireland who were on their way to Brussels for discussions with officials on Ireland’s EEC accession. Michael Sweetman was part of that delegation advocating for Irish entry to the EEC and one of the key figures in Ireland’s ‘Yes,’ vote campaign.
CEO of European Movement Ireland, Noelle O Connell commented,
“This year is a pivotal year for marking Ireland’s EU Journey as we celebrate 50 years of our membership of the European Union. The vote by 83% of people in Ireland in May 1972 to join what has been the world’s most successful peace project, has been the most transformative decision every undertaken by the people of this country over the last half century. It would not have been possible without the hard work, ambition and commitment to furthering Ireland’s place at the heart of Europe by visionary Irish leaders including former EM Ireland CEO, Michael Sweetman who tragically lost his life in the Staines Air Tragedy. Today we pay tribute to him and the other Irish leading figures and commemorate their lasting legacy and contribution to both Ireland and Europe.’’
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- About European Movement Ireland: Founded in 1954, European Movement (EM) Ireland is the longest established Irish NGO working on European affairs. An independent, not-for-profit, membership organisation, EM Ireland works to develop the connection between Ireland and the European Union. We facilitate links between all sectors of Irish society and the EU, through advocacy campaigns, education programmes, training courses, information briefings and networking events. For more information, visit europeanmovement.ie.
- The Michael Sweetman Educational Trust was established in 1975 in memory of economist Michael Sweetman, one of 118 people who died on 18 June 1972. An advocate of Ireland’s entry into the then-European Economic Community, Mr Sweetman was a former Director of the Irish Council of the European Movement (now European Movement Ireland). Following his death, his friends and associates established an Education Trust in his memory. From 1976, this Trust took the form of an essay competition. The format now embraces the Contemporary Issues Task (with a European dimension) of the Leaving Certificate Applied course for students of Education and Training Board schools, colleges or centres. Visit our website for more information: https://www.europeanmovement.ie/programmes/mset/.