It is a multidisciplinary publication, dealing with some of the historical, political, religious, cultural, demographic and sociological connections between Ireland – both North and South – and the East.
The chapters, which offer novel perspectives for the field of Irish studies, are organised in a chronological sequence, from the mid-19
Irish MEPs in an Enlarged Europe 151
151 Irish MEPs in an Enlarged Europe Marie-Claire CONSIDÈRE-CHARON Université de Franche-Comté Before its admission into the Common Market, in 1973, Ireland had very few political or economic links east of Great Britain, with what is still referred to nowadays as “the continent”. The Common Market scheme, as it gradually emerged during the first stages of European construction, between 1948 and 1960, was perceived by Irish citizens as one of a continental type, which meant that Ireland, because of its insularity and peripheral situation, could not be included. In 1968, one year after Brendan Halligan’s election as General Secretary of the Labour Party, his decision to secure membership of the Socialist International did not generate any enthusiasm within his own party: “It simply was not serious politics to consort with continentals for better to be in Bruree1 than in Brussels”.2 A quarter of a century later, the idea of feeling closer to Boston than Brussels was expressed by Tanaiste Mary Harney3 in 2000, who, at a meeting of the American Bar Association in the Law Society of Ireland, declared: “As Irish people, our relationships with the United States and the European Union are complex. Geographically we are closer to Berlin than Boston. Spiritually we are probably a lot closer to Boston than Berlin”. If the economic and cultural links with the United States have definitely remained very tight over the decades, suffice it to say that after thirty-five years of European membership, the relations between Ireland and the...
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