The Oireachtas and the European Union

Although Ireland had aspirations to become a member of the Community as far back as 1961 it was not until 1972 when a referendum confirmed Ireland’s entry into the European Community with 83 per cent of voters supporting membership. Ireland formally acceded to the then EEC in 1973. Joining the EEC had a radical impact on Ireland’s development and during the years that followed our accession, the Oireachtas has performed a crucial role in holding the government to account for its actions at EU level and by monitoring significant policy developments in Ireland’s interest.

The Oireachtas has over the years further developed and strengthened its role with regard to European Affairs for example putting Oireachtas Scrutiny of EU legislative proposals on a statutory footing by implementing the EU Scrutiny Act 2002. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December, 2009 the Oireachtas has put in place arrangements and procedures to enable the Houses to undertake and execute their new powers under the Lisbon Treaty, as provided for in the European Union Act 2009.

In the 30th Dáil, scrutiny of draft legislation published by the European Commission was centralised in the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny. The Joint Committee on European Affairs considered EU policy issues and consultation documents such as Green and White Papers.

Reflecting the Programme for Government the arrangements for the 31st Dáil, consideration of EU matters in the Oireachtas is mainstreamed across all Oireachtas Sectoral Committees. Read more about the Scrutiny Process

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