What is the impact of European Union membership for the Republic of Ireland? Ireland’s decision to join the European Union has had quite an impact on the county. Firstly it provided the Republic with a stage on which to assert its independence from Britain, which it relied upon (almost to fault) too heavily for trade. Having said this, many believe that it put the final nail in the coffin of the Ireland in which De Valera had envisaged, that being the God-fearing rural people who eschewed the excess of materialism. This is because it made Ireland much more like the core of Europe, especially in areas such as domestic policies.
To many in the first instance, it took away some of Irelands sovereignty in which a great amount of men died for in recent history. However the European Union has/had made Ireland much more economically attractive, especially in the late 1990’s with the surge of the “Celtic tiger” which made Ireland an economic powerhouse of the European Union. However this prosperity was not to last, corruption and stupidity cost Ireland dear, as they soon realised the mansion of an economy they had built was being balanced on marshmallows. The change in Irish society from 1960’s had been very evident.
From a largely homogeneous, nationalistic society in which the Catholic Church held strong control over society to a much more open pluralistic multinational society. 10% of the people in Ireland were actually born in another country. A staggering number for a country that was so homogeneous 40 years previous. The collapse of the Irish economy has also resulted in emigration levels not seen since the time of the Great Famine, it looks certain that Ireland is to lose another generation of young people, even with the European union member countries helping to bail out Irelands bank.
However this has little effect on the people who have to leave to find work, most of these people’s money was not ties up in banks or property, therefore some people would criticise the EU for not doing something to help the majority of people. There is no doubt that there have been pros for a small state like Ireland to be a part of the European Union, without which the Celtic Tiger would never have been a reality, however many believe that the Euro is failing, and with the Irish government owing so much money to the European Union, perhaps the impact of the EU has not been as great as they had once thought.