A strong, vibrant and cohesive European Union is essential for Ireland to achieve its aims across all policy areas and make sure that our interests are taken into account. The tremendous development that has taken place in Ireland since joining in 1973 is proof of that.
The Lisbon Treaty (2009) sought to deepen and strengthen the Union and gave a greater role to national parliaments recognising that they “contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union” (Article 12). Parliaments now act together to examine draft EU legislation to see if it is being proposed for implementation at the correct level i.e. Union or national level.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs plays a key role in informing debate on the EU in Ireland. It considers important EU developments and initiatives affecting Ireland and ensures EU legislation and proposals are properly scrutinised. It also holds the Government to account in Ireland’s relations with Europe.
The Oireachtas National Parliament Office (NPO) in Brussels represents both Houses of the Oireachtas to the European Commission, the Council, the European Parliament and other EU institutions. The main role of the NPO is to report on EU-related issues of particular interest or importance to the work of the Houses of the Oireachtas and its committees and to supply targeted, summary information on European legislation and other matters which are of specific relevance to that work. A key function of the NPO is to report on any subsidiarity issues arising under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.
This Week in the European Institutions
The NPO produces a weekly bulletin of what is on the agenda for the European institutions.
Ms Cáit Hayes
Permanent Representative of the Houses of the Oireachtas to the EU
WIE 06 U043, Rue Wiertz 50
+32 2 2842038
+32 47 3190664
COSAC is a Conference of the committees of the national Parliaments of the European Union Member States dealing with the European Union affairs as well as representatives of the European Parliament. COSAC meetings usually take place in the capital of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The European Parliament has an information office in every member state. The Irish office provides information on the European Parliament and the issues it is considering which are of significance for Ireland. It also provides information on the Irish Members of the European Parliament and their activities.
The European Commission has a network of accessible, local information centres in every member state. The Europe Direct centres in Ireland distribute information and advice about the European Union’s policies. They promote local and regional debate about the European Union and give the public the opportunity to send feedback to the EU institutions.
The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) is an independent think tank on European and international affairs. It provides members with analysis and forecasts of the challenges on the global and EU policy agendas which impact on Ireland. It also provides a forum for corporate networking.
Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, after a referendum in which 83% of voters supported the move. Joining the EEC, now the European Union, had a radical impact on Ireland’s development, both economic and social.