On 22 January 1972, at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels, the then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Patrick Hillery signed the Treaty of Accession to join the European Communities.
A referendum held on 10 May 1972 subsequently confirmed Ireland’s entry into the European community with 83 per cent of voters supporting membership. Ireland, along with Denmark and the United Kingdom, became a member of the European Communities on New Year’s Day 1973.
Ireland’s signature of the Accession Treaty on 22 January 1972 was perhaps the most significant event in Irish foreign policy since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921.
Fifty years since this historic occasion, over the course of 2022 and into 2023, the Government is marking this important anniversary through a series of events and initiatives designed to engage with audiences at home and abroad on Ireland’s place in Europe.
Ireland’s EU membership over the last 50 years has coincided with radical and transformative change across the social and economic landscape of Ireland. The EU has been a catalyst in the creation of the prosperous, peaceful and progressive Ireland we live in today and Ireland has too contributed to the development of today’s European Union.
Through EU50, we are encouraging reflection upon and celebration of 50 years of our membership of, and contribution to, the European Union.