Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Membership of EEC.

Wednesday, 30 March 1966

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 222 No. 2

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2.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  asked the Taoiseach, if in view of the indications of a more liberal attitude by the members of the EEC towards the application of the United Kingdom and other countries for membership of the Common Market, he will indicate if Ireland's application is being actively pursued; and if discussions to that end are taking place.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Our interest in acceding to the European Economic Community is being constantly stressed [267] in the capitals of the member-nations and has been re-emphasised by our embassies quite recently. It is the Government's firm intention to pursue actively our application for membership of the Common Market at the first appropriate moment.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Could the Taoiseach indicate what active progress there is in the direction of that aim?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  That is what I have just done.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  I did not get any indication from the Taoiseach's reply that the Government are doing anything.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  If the Deputy studies my reply, he will find it is there.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Would the Taoiseach like to read it again?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  What I said was that our interest in acceding to the European Economic Community is being constantly stressed in the capitals of the member-nations and has been re-emphasised by our embassies quite recently.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Would the Taoiseach say that the Government are following the examples of the British Government—the same Government as, I suppose, will be there next week-end— ensuring that conditions will be negotiated rather than globally accepted?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy appears to be trying to get me to comment on a position that is under debate in Great Britain at present.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I think it is reasonable to assume that the Labour Government will be in office in Britain and they have said that they will negotiate conditions.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The circumstances of both countries are different.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  No, up to this we just wanted to get in and now the British are to negotiate conditions for entry.

[268]Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Could the Taoiseach indicate if any negotiations whatever are taking place between our Government and the European Economic Community, other than the blind statement in every capital in Europe that we are going to get in by 1970?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There are no negotiations proceeding with the European Economic Community as such. Our contacts are with the member states.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  If the British Government decide to enter under negotiated conditions, will we attempt to negotiate conditions also?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Certainly our conditions for entry will be negotiated.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  By the Irish Government?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  By the Irish Government.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Have the Government forgotten about the go-it-alone policy?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is a separate question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I do not remember that.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I was about to ask the Taoiseach if any approach made through the embassies had been made on a go-it-alone basis or in conjunction with the British?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy is not as innocent in this matter as he pretends. This was obviously a situation which is moving at this time and no doubt the pace and movement can be affected by the British. It is clear that the situation is no longer static and naturally we must keep in touch with it to ensure that our application for membership can be re-activated at the earliest moment.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I am not trying to confuse the issue. What I want to know is whether or not the attitude of the Government in relation to any approaches they have made has been [269] that our entry or our interest in it is conditional on the attitude of the British Government or that our interest remains alive, irrespective of the attitude of the British Government?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Our application for membership of the European Economic Community was not conditional on the British application but it is obvious that the EEC is not at the moment considering new applications for membership and it is not likely that they will do so until they have determined their position on the British application.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  It is depending on the British election. The Taoiseach agrees with that?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It may have some bearing on it.


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