Wednesday, 23 October 1963
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Norton: asked the Taoiseach whether any recent developments have taken place in connection with Ireland's application for membership of the EEC; and if he will make a statement on the matter, setting out the latest position.
Mr. Cosgrave: asked the Taoiseach if there have been any further developments concerning the application of this country to join the European Economic Community; or if there have been any developments concerning the extension of the EFTA arrangements whereby this country might benefit from EFTA membership.
Mr. Corish: asked the Taoiseach the latest position with regard to this country's application for membership of the European Economic Community; and whether there have been any discussions with the British Government with regard to the possibility of the resumption of negotiations.
There have been no developments during the recess which would indicate any likelihood that negotiations on Ireland's application for membership of the European Economic Community will be resumed in the near future. Nor have I any reason to think that the British Government anticipate an early resumption of negotiations.
The position still is that we intend to reopen our application as soon as it is possible for us to do so and that, while we cannot predict when that will be, we are proceeding on the assumption that Ireland will acquire membership before the end of the decade.
We are, therefore, concerned to ensure that we shall be kept as closely  informed as possible of developments in the Community. Deputies will be aware that a procedure has been established for periodic contacts between Britain and the European Economic Community within the framework of the Western European Union. I have previously indicated here our interest in the establishment of a contact procedure with the Community, and I am happy to say that consultations are going on with a view to arranging a meeting in the near future between a delegation led by the Minister for External Affairs and members of the EEC Commission for the purpose of an exchange of views on developments in the Community and in Ireland of mutual interest.
I should add that there have not been any developments in the European Free Trade Association which suggest that it would be to our advantage, at any rate at this stage, to seek membership of that organisation.
Mr. Corish: The Taoiseach says he is assuming; he said in recent months that his expectation is that we will be members of EEC by 1970. Is he in a position to state whether or not Britain expects to be in by 1970, or has he had any communications or discussions with them in this regard?
Mr. Dillon: Arising out of the Taoiseach's reference to EFTA, has his attention been directed to the fact that EFTA have decided to embark on a review of their mutual agricultural trading and, if so, has he any information as to the extent to which these discussions are proposed to go?
Mr. Dillon: I can only say that my  information is derived from the statement made in my presence by the Secretary General of EFTA that discussions were to take place between members at an early date; I asked him in the course of a meeting of the Council of Europe Economic Committee whether I had mistaken the tenor of his observations and he emphatically confirmed that such discussions were now proposed for the first time.
Mr. Norton: Would the Taoiseach bear in mind the obvious cooling-off in enthusiasm in Great Britain for membership of EEC, which may, in fact, result in Britain not persisting in her application for membership of that body? Would he therefore say whether, in view of this general atmosphere, he proposes to continue his annual excercise of a reduction in our tariffs against imported goods, which, if we are not admitted to the Common Market, will have the effect of giving us all the disadvantages of non-membership and none of the advantages of membership?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy is making, I think, a wrong assumption in that regard. While any action we may take of our own decision in respect of our industrial tariffs will naturally have relation to the international circumstances prevailing, one of the main reasons for engaging in this exercise is to encourage the growth of efficiency in Irish industry.
Mr. Norton: Surely the Taoiseach will admit it is also having the effect of making Irish industry compete against the products of countries which have shown noreciprocity towards us from the point of view of repealing their tariffs against our goods.
|Last Updated: 15/09/2010 20:59:39||Page of 78|