David Thornley interviews newly appointed Taoiseach Jack Lynch about the pressing issues facing his government, including the prospect of the United Kingdom reactivating its application to join the European Economic Community (EEC).
The EEC, also known as the Common Market, was formed in 1957 when six member states France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Rome. The Taoiseach Jack Lynch and his government are being kept well informed of by British government about their latest initiative to re-apply for EEC membership.
Such an initiative has implications for Ireland, and the Taoiseach is seeking a meeting with the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson as soon as possible, not only to discuss their Common Market entry application but also their existing free trade agreement.
While there is a possibility the Irish Government will apply simultaneously with Britain for EEC membership, The Taoiseach cannot say for sure until he sees how Mr Wilson’s initiative fairs.
And while our application is technically independent of the British one, nevertheless we realise that, and especially since we’ve negotiated a free trade area agreement, we realise that our applications will have to be processed as simultaneously or nearly as simultaneously as possible.
The Taoiseach firmly believes that Ireland requires full rather than qualified membership of the EEC.
Full membership is, I think, the goal, and I’m sure there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that that is the best possible prospect.
Ireland, along with the United Kingdom and Denmark, joined the EEC in 1973.
This episode of 'Division' was broadcast on 18 November 1966.