The Republic of Ireland commonly referred to as Ireland is a country in north-western Europe with its capital in Dublin. It has been a member nation of the European Union since 1973 when it joined the European Economic Council (EEC). The EEC is the predecessor of the European Union, and all members of the EEC became EU members with the Maastricht Treaty coming into force on November 1, 1993.
Not only is the Republic of Ireland a member of the European Union but is also a member of the Eurozone (unlike the United Kingdom). This means that since January 1, 1999, the Euro has been adopted as the official currency of the country, and it also participates in the free trade market that is made up of Eurozone members.
Ireland has also held the revolving presidency of the EU Council seven times between the years 1975 and 2013. The country holds 11 seats in the European Parliament.
Since its accession to the EEC in 1973, the Republic of Ireland has been a significant beneficiary of the funds and grants that have been available to the member countries. Even with the formation of the EU, Ireland’s contribution to the EU budget has historically been less than its receipts.
In 1973, for example, Ireland had received €50 billion worth funds. In 2014, however, for the first time, Ireland contributed more than it received. Having provided about €1.69 billion to the EU Budget, it stood to gain about €1.52 billion (primarily for payment to farmers). With the finalization of Britain’s exit from the EU, Ireland’s contribution to the EU budget will likely go up by about €138 million or more.
With the Brexit increasingly becoming a reality, it looks like the Republic of Ireland will have a lot more to negotiate with Britain than trade ties. We have to consider the possibility of Northern Ireland, which has hitherto been a part of the United Kingdom, joining the Republic of Ireland. The EU has committed to seamlessly facilitate the EU membership of a united Ireland if the two regions decide to unite in future. Northern Ireland had voted in favor of remaining with the EU while England had overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Brexit (when the referendum was held in the UK).