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BECOMING EUROPEAN: NATIONAL IDENTITY, SOVEREIGNTY AND EUROPEANISATION IN IRISH POLITICAL CULTURE

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores Ireland’s complex relationship with Europe since the end of the Second World War. For the most part Irish opinion was indifferent to Europe until the United Kingdom applied for membership of the EEC in 1961. In response to this, Irish attitudes to Europe changed and support for membership remained very high in comparative terms until very recently. The chapter examines Irish mass attitudes to Europe at a number of levels and suggests that there is little evidence for the emergence of a European identity among the Irish public. In so far as a European identity exists it is weak and secondary when compared to Irish identity. Identity remains located in the territorial concept of the nation-state and is not challenged by the evolution of the European Union. However, when developments in Europe are conceived as threats to Irish identity, as proved to be the case during the Nice and Lisbon referendums, Irish attitudes can become sceptical to European integration.

10.1163/9789042030541_005
/content/books/b9789042030541s005
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