European Relations [162]



As Ireland has progressed from a British colony to independent nationhood, the relationship to the rest of Europe has grown.  Until the 1937 Constitution change, Britain dominated Irish foreign affairs.  In the wake of World War II, the new Republic of Ireland was one of many countries with new leadership, new boundaries, and new goals in Europe.  The relationships with the continent grew stepwise.  The 1947 European coal, iron and steel consortium left out Ireland which was a consumer rather than a producer, (Figure 1) but the Post and Telecommunication CEPT saw Ireland as an early member with the 1960 stamp. (Figure 2) These expanded into other areas represented by the Europa stamps. The 1973 entry of Ireland into the European Economic Community was celebrated on a stamp. (Figure 3)  Since European weather flows from the west to the east, Ireland, by virtue of geography, plays a role in the World Meteorological Organization (Figure 4).  These are only a few of the many ties with their new partners in a growing Europe.

As trade increased, Ireland’s connections with the North Sea and Mediterranean areas also expanded. (Figure 5) The bounties of the sea not only feed the nation, but provide export sales (Figure 6).  Ireland has also participated in peacekeeping missions, both within and without the EEC.  Irish troops were deployed to Kosovo to separated warring factions. (Figure 7). A participant in the European parliament, subjects such as elections and environmental protection, such as biosphere (Figure 8), served as stamp subjects.  Competition in international sports such as Tour d’France cycling (Figure 9) World Cup soccer (Figure 10) and the Olympics (Figure 11) served to create bonds to the continent, further strengthened by the term as President of the European Union (1990 (Figure 12).  Monetary changes, such as decimalization shown here before and after (Figure 13) and the conversion to the Euro in 2002 (Figure 14) are reflected on stamps.

In general, Ireland has prospered from its relationship with the European Economic Community because its greatest asset, its people, who are generally well-educated, motivated and fluent in languages. and yet open to change.(Figure 15).