The Irish Council of the European Movement was established to raise awareness of the benefits of the European Economic Community. Their aim was to inform the public of European affair and the impact that that joining the EEC would have on Ireland. 

The committee included trade union representatives, employers organisations and the national farmers association which would ensure Irish prioritise were kept at the forefront of the European developments.  

The Irish Council of European Movement (ICEM) declared their aim of the creation of a European Community within Ireland.  Throughout the early 1961’s the ICEM, including Desmon Fisher, participated in several conferences with the Commission. Following the conference in the Netherlands it was confirmed that a ‘United Europe’ was not achievable without not only the support of the political parties but arguably more importantly the public, trade unions and employers organisations support. 

The conference concluded that a United Europe was necessary to ensure peace and security and an improvement on the standard of living in Europe and Ireland.  

Following a failed application attempt, Ireland, Denmark and the United Kingdom re applied in May 1967 and negotiations began in December 1969.  

Once the EEC’s proposals were outlined, it was vital for Ireland that they be considered in the Irish context. The pros and cons of full membership vs association was heavily discussed as Ireland was majorly an agricultural country and there was a significant lack of agricultural trade the EEC had achieved. 

By the initial end of 1970, Ireland had accepted a 5-year period for freed trade for both agricultural and industrial products. However, there was still a great deal to discuss as Ireland was keen to retain tariff quotas.  

As the proposals of the EEC were outlined, the political implications it would have on Ireland had to be considered. The natural ‘spill over’ effect that European decision making would have indirectly on Irish political and cultural life caused a divide in Irish politics.  

Liam Cosgrove TD, the leader of Fine Gael at the time, noted that not enough attention had been brought to the alterations to Irish life would occur. Ireland’s neutrality and not being a member of NATO were both raised as arguments against membership. James Temple Lang further expressed that the relationship between national and community law was yet to be resolved.  

Furthermore, the United Kingdom had reservations about joining the EEC which would have made Ireland being accepted as a member and their actual membership increasingly difficult. 

Neville Keery gave the opinion that joining the EEC would not solve any of Ireland’s problems but rather provide an environment in which to develop Ireland’s agricultural and continue industrial growth. Thus, Ireland’s success in the EEC and the political implications that it brought were entirely up to the people of Ireland. Furthermore, if Ireland were to join the EEC and maintain a level of prosperity, Irish productivity and marketing had to be drastically improved.