Mervyn O’Driscoll
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Germany, Lemass and foreign policy adaptation
in Ireland, West Germany and the New Europe, 1949– 73
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This chapter traces the German discernment of, and contributions to, the alterations and deliberations taking place within Ireland about its place in the world. The period after Seán Lemass became Taoiseach in June 1959 was a dynamic period but there were strong forces of continuity. Lemass actively redefined and Westernised Irish foreign policy. The Taoiseach's adjustment of Irish foreign policy, in order to take into account the preferences of European Economic Community (EEC) states, strengthened after Ireland applied for EEC membership in July 1961. Irish policy fostered closer consultation with its West European and Atlantic neighbours in framing foreign initiatives. Industrial exports from foreign branch plants were the main contributors to the sudden turn around in the Irish economic statistics in 1959 and 1960. Lemass intervened and moderated Irish unilateralism and idealism at the UN in the interests of cultivating relations with West Europeans.

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