Dublin, July 4th: Minister for European Affairs Peter Burke today honoured Ireland’s first European citizens, known as the Eurobabies, at a special event held in Government Buildings. The event, titled ‘Celebrating EU Values’, was hosted by European Movement Ireland.
The group of 13 individuals from across Ireland were born on January 1, 1973, coinciding with the day Ireland joined the then European Economic Community. To commemorate this historic moment, the then Irish Council of the European Movement (now European Movement Ireland) commissioned special medallions for the newborns. These medallions symbolised their unique status as Ireland’s first European citizens. Today, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s EU membership, the Eurobabies were presented with new medallions to mark this significant milestone.
The Minister for European Affairs expressed his appreciation for the Eurobabies’ symbolic status as the first European citizens of Ireland.
He commented: “This occasion allows us to reflect on the immense progress Ireland has made within the European Union over the past 50 years. The Eurobabies represent a unique generation who have witnessed Ireland’s journey as a member of the European Union since its inception. They have grown up with the opportunity to live, work, and study across the EU, benefiting from the freedom of movement and the diverse cultural experiences it brings.”
The Eurobabies were honoured in front of politicians, guests from across Ireland’s business and public sectors as well as young people who took part in the Government’s MyEU50 youth competition.
The event also reflected on the impact of EU values on Irish citizens with each of the speakers reflecting on the impact within their lives.
One of the founders of the then Irish Council of the European Movement (now European Movement Ireland), Neville Keery, who played a pivotal role in the 1972 referendum campaign, spoke at the event.
He said: “Today, as we celebrate 50 years of Ireland’s membership of the EU, we can reflect on all of the progress that we have made as both a people and as a nation. Joining the ECC did more than open up the markets, it also opened up our minds. We have been transformed from a nation that looked inward to one that has opened up to be a major force on the European stage.”
Speaking from the event, Dr Bryan Mac Donald, one of Eurobabies born on the 1 January 1973, said:
He said: “As a Eurobaby, membership of the EU has provided me and my friends with fantastic educational opportunities and supported us through our educational journey. Travel and access to education throughout Europe has had a transformative effect on the lives of many of my friends and family.”
Favour Ochonma, who was the Third Level winner of the nationwide MyEU50 youth competition to mark 50 years of Ireland’s EU membership, said:
“As a young black second-generation migrant in Ireland, EU values have transformed my life, providing economic opportunities, legal protections, and a sense of belonging. Celebrating these values is crucial as they empower individuals like me, fostering inclusivity, and creating a society where everyone’s voice matters.”
Noelle O Connell CEO, European Movement Ireland said:
“This event marks the culmination of our programme of events and outreach work marking Ireland’s 50 years of membership. Today, we reflect on how EU values and rights has changed Ireland and shaped Irish citizens’ lives – all while celebrating our Eurobabies.
“As Ireland’s first European citizens, the Eurobabies have been witness to the transformative impact of EU membership on our country. They represent a generation that has experienced the many social, cultural, and economic advantages that stem from being part of the European Union. We were thrilled so many were able to join us today for what was a truly special event.”
This event is part of the European Movement International’s Together for Europe project. The project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
Contact Cathy Gray, Head of Communications and Youth Engagement, EM Ireland to arrange interview / comment: firstname.lastname@example.org ; +353868075332
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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 www.europeanmovement.ie .