This chapter examines the evolution in Irish public opinion about the EU. It notes an apparent contradiction in that Ireland always registers among the most pro-EU countries in general opinion surveys, despite the fact that it has on several occasions voted against EU treaties. It explores how Irish public opinion developed during the financial crash and the Brexit crisis, and highlights how there was no discernible Irexit effect. Instead, although the Irish public continues to show levels of knowledge of the EU that are lower than the EU average, nonetheless their overall attitudes remain positive, and this was strengthened after Brexit.
Ireland and the European Union: economic, political and social crises is essential reading for those interested in understanding Ireland’s relationship with the EU from the 2008 financial crisis to the 2016 Brexit crisis and beyond. The book comprehensively examines policy areas such as security, migration and taxation as well as protest politics, political parties, the media, public opinion and the economic impact of each of these crises has had on Ireland. The book is also the first to provide a wide-ranging analysis on British–Irish relations in the context of Brexit, assessing in particular the Withdrawal Agreement and Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, the devolution settlement and the 1998 Agreement as well as the European dimension to Northern Ireland’s peace process.
This book examines how Ireland’s relationship with the European Union was affected by a succession of crises: the financial crisis, the migration crisis and the Brexit crisis in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The various crises were not of equal significance in Ireland. The financial crisis was a huge issue for the Republic but less so for Northern Ireland; Brexit had a major impact in both polities; the migration crisis was less controversial; and the foreign policy challenges had a minimal impact. This opening chapter will provide a summary of the main features of each of the main crises to be considered, from both the EU and the Irish perspective.
This chapter examines the possible future relationship of Ireland and the EU. For a long time, Ireland was seen as a pro-European country, one that had benefited from many EU policies and programmes. The analyses in this volume suggest that there is now a more questioning dimension to the relationship, but at the same time the broad outlook remains pro-European. In particular, Brexit has served to underline Ireland’s commitment to, if not dependency on, the EU. However, there are several potential problems which could disrupt that commitment. Brexit has changed relations between the Republic and Northern Ireland, and between Ireland and Britain, in ways that are still far from known. The EU is also still changing, with emerging calls for deeper integration in some quarters. While Ireland is generally supportive of further integration, developments in areas such as defence cooperation and tax harmonisation would cause problems. Finally, the global situation is constantly evolving, and issues such as climate change, health security and deglobalisation could have a major impact on future Irish–EU relations.