The past 40 old ages have seen a great alteration in Ireland ‘s societal policies. The bulk of these alterations have their roots in the state ‘s 1970 ‘s entry into the EEC and subsequent acceptance of European statute law. This move had a batch of influence on Irish society as a whole, its political stance, societal position, and in statute law. It was a decennary of enormous turbulence. No event since the Irish civil war in 1923 had as great an impact upon the economic, political and societal character of the democracy of Ireland ‘s entry into the EEC in 1973. There had been serious challenges to the ‘status quo ‘ of societal norms. For illustration, adult females and their function in Irish society were everlastingly changed by EEC-influenced governmental plans. Equality became paramount. Educational, public assistance and the on the job environments were encapsulated by EEC reform. This essay will analyze some of the chief societal policy developments during the 1970 -1980 ‘s in Ireland. It will look at four cardinal countries: the economic and political, poorness, societal public assistance and instruction. I will so analyze how these alterations impacted upon one another.

Political and Economic

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In 1973 Ireland joined the European Economic Community ( EEC ) ( now the European Union EU ) . Bing possibly the poorest member province in the EEC, it was expected to profit from improved trade links with other member provinces. Ireland envisaged an epoch of economic stableness and growing. This would be from the execution of EEC-led policies and fiscal aid. Some critics argued that this was due in Irish life. Kiely argued that ‘the conservativism of the new province, coupled with a hapless economic system and the influence of the Catholic church, were major factors impacting the decease of societal statute law and commissariats right up to the clip Ireland joined the European brotherhood. ‘ ( Kiely 1999:2 ) Unfortunately, clocking was non of the kernel. In 1973 the oil crisis badly dented the economic advancement of the EEC globally. This limited the ability for Ireland to profit instantly from European prosperity. However, Irish politicians remained optimistic, believing that “ a lifting tide lifts all boats. ” ( Callan & A ; Nolan 1993: 1 ) Ultimately, Ireland ‘s credence into the EEC would ensue in positive societal betterment and chances. However it could be argued, that entry to the EEC, simply formalised the comparative public presentation of Ireland as the hapless cousin or ‘non -europe ‘ . This would guarantee that slow development and growing coupled with high rising prices, was understating instead than promoting co-operation/growth. ( NESC 88 1989:4-5 )

Ireland ‘s mini-boom in the 1970 ‘s was fliting. It became known as the ‘sick adult male of Europe ‘ . What was germinating was societal motions and economic stagnancy. ( Conroy 1999:39 ) Employment degrees were hit hard with new revenue enhancements. Between 1974 and 1980, the national debt about doubled. Rory O’Donnell argues that “ floaty domestic growing in the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s postponed the twenty-four hours or thinking for much ( of the ) autochthonal fabrication industry, and cloaked the jobs of Ireland ‘s political economic system ” ( O’Donnell 1998:5 ) . The problems in Northern Ireland were besides sloping over into the democracy. This was doing monolithic uncertainness, compounded with the overall downward tendency in Ireland ‘s authorities fundss. There was besides need to go on to pull foreign investing, even though such investing was empting the public bag.

Inward foreign investing, which was promoted as one of the chief benefits of EEC rank, besides proved dissatisfactory. While some corporations moved certain phases of production to Ireland, “ in the 1970 ‘s the failing of linkages between foreign-owned endeavors and the autochthonal economic system became a major topic of research and policy concert ” O’Donnell ( 1998:4 ) mentioning the work of O’Malley ( 1981 ) this resulted in a small money being brought into the economic system but a great trade being taken out. This was chiefly by corporations that were granted revenue enhancement interruptions in order to put. They invested sagely in such a manner as to maximize their net incomes. If Ireland had raised the revenue enhancements, these corporations, would hold taken their production elsewhere. The consequence would hold been an addition in the unemployment rate. This system had two major inauspicious effects: foremost, by selectively allowing subsidies for foreign houses it reduced the overall GDP ; secondly, foreign houses had an advantage over the autochthonal companies. The Culliton Report argued that Irish authorities ‘s policies during this period did small to make well-paid occupations. ( Commissions study 1992 )

On refection Ireland ‘s economic growing was slowed down between the 1970 ‘s and 1980 ‘s, non merely by the sulky trade globally, but it was besides aggravated by the disabling national debt. ( O’Hagan 1995:226 ) A cardinal restructuring plan of the state ‘s economic system in the 1980 ‘s led to rapid productiveness of growing and an betterment in employment Numberss. The growing was limited by the state ‘s inability to develop concern beyond the nucleus agricultural sector. Although Ireland ‘s economic system was turning, the foundations for the growing were widely viewed as unsubstantial and prone to sudden prostration.

EEC rank brought a figure of important alterations to Ireland ‘s economic system and on the job environment. The 1974 Anti-Discrimination Pay Act and the Employment Equality Act 1977 provided alterations to Ireland ‘s employment statute law. It provoked contention in a state with a strong Catholic ethos. There was considerable opposition to what was seen as an unwelcome grade of societal technology, and few within Ireland recognised the benefits that would guarantee if Ireland came into line with broader European union policy. A revenue enhancement rise, increased authorities adoption, and a important rise in unemployment. This confirmed the malaise about Ireland ‘s rank of the EEC and EU.

However, EEC ‘s rank created cardinal alterations to Ireland ‘s employment statute law. It tackled inequality and division, and encouraged Irish workers to stand up for their rights. These rights were of working groups to organize brotherhoods and protest against their bad or unjust intervention. The EEC besides created more occupations within the populace sector, “ the province was the major employer of the decennary, with five out of every 10 occupations created outside agribusiness being located in the populace sector ” Considine & A ; Dukelow ( 2009:31-39 mentioning the work of Sexton 1986 ) . Although this alleviated unemployment ( and created a less dependent civilization ) , it besides ensured that disbursement increased.

Irish dependance on the UK export market was dramatically cut, as Irish industry began to increase its exports to other EEC states: between 1972 and 1984, the proportion of exports traveling to the UK dropped from 61 % to 34 % ( NESC 88 1989:79 ) . In add-on, Ireland ‘s chief agricultural industry, which had for some clip been debatable in footings of promoting growing, benefited massively from the debut of the EU-wide Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP ) . This allowed the state ‘s economic system to see echt growing during the 1980 ‘s ; this growing finally filtered through to other parts of the Irish economic system, and eventually allowed Irish industry to get away its dependance on authorities subsidies. The few subsidies that were available were now, for the most portion, EU subsidies, and these arrived in the signifier of developmental financess designed to assist ease Ireland out of its place as the EU ‘s poorest member.


Ireland had long suffered from monolithic inequality in footings of the distribution of gross income among families. This was a societal and economic job: Ireland ‘s poorness degrees had remained high, even when economic growing was stable. This suggested a division of wealth and a strong degree of inequality. Poverty was seen as a peculiar job for the state ‘s kids ( Callan & A ; Nolan, 1993:18 ) , and was the belief that rank within the EEC could assist the state ‘s poorness divide. This was one of the cardinal grounds why Ireland chose to fall in the EEC. ‘In 1971, two old ages before Ireland ‘s command to fall in the EEC was accepted, a Kilkenny Conference Centre study found that 27 % of Irish citizens lived below the international poorness line ‘ . ( cited in Considine and Dukelow2009:56 ) . This fuelled concern non merely about Ireland ‘s economic public presentation but besides about its ability to keep a functional public assistance system. The National Committee on Pilot Schemes to Combat Poverty ( NCPSCP ) was established in 1973 as portion of a authorities push to eliminate poorness, peculiarly among the immature ; the EEC-funded strategy operated until the terminal of the decennary and enjoyed a great trade of success. ( ibid )

Social Welfare

During the 1970 ‘s, Ireland ‘s societal security system expanded quickly. The state fell into line with most other EEC member provinces. The Irish Women ‘s Liberation ( IWLM ) motion was founded. This combined with EEC statute law improved commissariats for the Working and Single female parents, Deserted wives, equality between the genders, instruction and employment. This assisted to revolutionize the societal public assistance system and supply echt aid for those in demand. For illustration, in the 1920 ‘s ‘the prohibition on married adult females working in paid employment ‘ in certain sectors had been in topographic point. This was eventually repealed in 1973. This overturned decennaries ‘ of inequality within the Irish employment system and besides mirrored the vision of the EEC. The entire adult females at work between 1971 and 1988 grew by ( 26 -44 ) 34 % . ( Doyle 1999:115 ) . Those adult females who were able to work received, on norm, merely 56 % of the net incomes awarded to their male opposite numbers ( ibid ) . Even after EEC statute law was introduced to allow adult females equality, many Irish employers were loath to implement alterations. Womans still merely received, on mean, two tierces of the wage given to work forces. This effort to increase rewards in Ireland during this decennary encountered stiff resistance and, although effectual, in most instances failed to force through the grade of alteration envisioned by those who drafted the statute law. It was non until 1999 that a ‘National Childcare Strategy ‘ was published. This addressed ‘the demand for low-cost child care for kids of working parents ‘ . ( Kiely 1999:4 ) This demonstrated to a grade the deficiency of commissariats that were before established to ease ( chiefly adult females ) to travel into employment.


The Irish instruction system was to see the positive consequences of the late 60’s.The debut of free instruction. In the early 1970 ‘s there was a immense addition in the figure of misss come ining both secondary and university instruction. Educational advancement was achieved. Clearly, the alterations in portion of employment statute law helped to ease this. This did non needfully take to instant equality overnight, but the overall impulse of Irish instruction was everlastingly changed. Females understood that they had an absolute right to prosecute their instruction. It took clip for misss to encompass the new chances presented to them. ‘The Irish authorities has recognised the importance of instruction for economic, societal and cultural development showing a existent committedness to investing in instruction and preparation ‘ . ( Newman 2005:278 )


The societal policy alterations seen in Ireland over the past 40 old ages may look slightly minimum in an international context, but set against Ireland ‘s societal, cultural and political landscape of the late 1960 ‘s can be seen to stand for a echt progress. In peculiar, Ireland ‘s accession to the EEC ( subsequently EU ) led to significant legislative alterations that resulted in, among other things, monolithic betterments in footings of equality of work forces and adult females in instruction and employment sectors. Economically and politically, the consequences were slightly uneven, as EEC-membership proved no protection from the jobs stemming from, among other things, the oil trade stoppage and the crisis in European industrial production, in the late 1970 ‘s. The expected inflow of foreign investing besides proved to be a assorted approval for Ireland, ensuing in more occupations but besides doing jobs for autochthonal manufacturers – particularly given the controversial revenue enhancement and public disbursement figures. Modern Ireland is a strong and powerful member of the EU, and although the state still has a figure of jobs in footings of both inequality and poorness, it ‘s clear that the progressive policies put in topographic point following Ireland ‘s accession to the EU have for the most portion delivered substantial betterments to the state ‘s political, societal and economic public presentation.