Introduction

On 22 January 1972, the Treaty of Accession was signed at a ceremony in Brussels by Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Minister for Foreign Affairs Patrick Hillery. Then, on 10 May 1972, the Irish people voted emphatically to join the European Communities (EC) in a referendum, which meant that on 1 January 1973, Ireland officially became an EC Member State.

Throughout 2022 and 2023, Ireland will celebrate 50 years since that pivotal moment in Irish history.

The history of the foundation of European Movement Ireland is intertwined in Ireland’s journey to joining the EC (now the European Union (EU) in 1973. Over the next 18 months, EM Ireland will be celebrating 50 years of Ireland’s membership of the EU.

Through events, publications and much more, EM Ireland will be exploring the transformative impact of 50 years of membership and Ireland’s emergence as a modern, open economy and society.

Ireland EU50 Podcast Series

As Ireland commemorates in 2022 the 50th anniversary since voting to join the EEC in a referendum on 10 May 1972, EM Ireland is producing the de facto ‘Ireland EU50 Podcast Series’, revisiting the voices and memories of a transformative moment in our history as a country. In this special referendum anniversary EM Ireland podcast series, we will speak to individuals from across media, politics, academia and beyond, to recall and remember the Ireland of the decades leading up to the Referendum and to hear of their experiences and reflections of the Referendum itself.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

50 Steps to 50 Years

To help mark the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s referendum to join the EU in 1972, European Movement Ireland will be producing a digital timeline series of 50 steps to highlight the key moments that have defined Ireland’s journey since joining the EU in 1973. By collating stories, imagery, and documentation from a variety of sources, EM Ireland will be able to present online, key moments along Ireland’s journey of our EU membership.

During the course of 2022 EM Ireland will publish online each decade, starting with 1972 – 1982 in January, 1983 – 1992 in April, 1993 – 2002 in June, 2003 – 2012 in September and 2013 – 2022 in December. As a result, by the end of 2022, on the eve of fiftieth anniversary Ireland joining the EU, the full series of 50 Steps to 50 Years will be available to mark this momentous milestone.

1972-1982

1983-1992

1993-2002

2003-2012

2013-2022

Signing of the Treaty of Accession

The signing ceremony for Ireland’s European Communities accession took place at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels on 22 January 1972. The Treaty of Accession was signed by Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Minister for Foreign Affairs Patrick Hillery. 

For more information: Ireland and the EU: A History (Department of Foreign Affairs

Images courtesy of European Commission

Latest EU 50 News

📰 ARTICLE: Ireland marks 50 years of EU membership

(RTÉ News, 21 January 2022)

Ireland has marked a milestone in its membership of the European Union. On 22 January 1972, the Treaty of Accession was signed at a ceremony in Brussels by Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Minister for Foreign Affairs Patrick Hillery. Today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin inspected the original treaty at the National Archives of Ireland. Read more

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