How the first elections to the European Parliament could benefit the lives of Irish people.

With the first elections to the European Parliament to be held in June 1979 what does the European Economic Community (EEC) have to do with the lives of Irish voters? 

How Irish children think, work and live will be bound up with the social version behind European rulings and directives. Women's rights activist and vice-principal of Cabinteely Community School in Dublin Sylvia Meehan believe the European influence on children will be positive and broadening.

During a geography class at Cabinteely Community School Seán Mac Mathúna explains the structure of European membership and how the upcoming European Parliament elections will work.

It just means that it’s going to give us a little more say.

One of the pupils, Helena, does not think that becoming more of a European will make her less of an Irish person.

You may get a European citizenship but you will always be an Irish person.

St Dominic’s Community Centre in Tallaght holds social and advice services for the elderly. Sylvia Meehan says the range of abilities, skills and wisdom held by older people could be better utilised within Irish society. By separating elderly people from the wider community,

We’re telling young people that they should categorise, separate and not learn from each other.

In Tallaght, community workers are working hard to ensure make shift services instead of built in provisions for an integrated community do not create more social problems. Some of these difficulties haven arisen from

Leaving the future in the hands of developers who may ignore the basic needs of the people who have to live here.

European membership has meant changes in trade, employment and the daily lives of Irish people.

Direct elections will cement our status as citizens in Europe, we can share ideas, look at other peoples alternatives and chose from a greater number of solutions.

This episode of ‘Countdown to Europe: A Time for Equality?’ was broadcast on 23 May 1979. The reporter is John O'Donoghue.