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Europe Day 2023 celebrates Ireland’s 50 years of membership of the European Union

  • Government Ministers and Oireachtas members to visit schools across Ireland to mark EU celebration.
  • Government Buildings, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Custom House among buildings lighting up in EU colours this Tuesday. 

Europe Day 2023 marks the culmination of the Government’s EU50 programme which has been celebrating key milestones in the 50 years of Ireland’s EU membership since our decision to join the European Economic Community (EEC) on 22 January 1972.

On Monday, 8 May, 28 Government Ministers and wider Oireachtas Members, accompanied by Ambassadors from European Union (EU) Member States in Ireland, will visit schools across the country to meet with young people to celebrate Europe Day 2023, in this 50th anniversary year. Ministers and Ambassadors will have the opportunity to hear what Europe means to our young people, and to answer their questions on Europe’s future.

Some of the primary schools being visited on Monday are part of the Blue Star Programme. This teaches primary school pupils about European cultures and the EU through creative activities and projects complementing the national primary curriculum. A number of the post primary schools are part of the European Parliament Ambassador School (EPAS) Programme, a network of post-primary  schools across the European Union raising awareness of European parliamentary democracy and European citizenship values. 

Ministers will also be visiting some of the 470 schools and groups who are participating in a special EU50 initiative, Ár nAmhrán, Our Anthem. This project presents an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of cultures and experience within schools, to acknowledge our historic links with European culture and to recall our enduring membership of the European Union.

Ár nAmhrán, Our Anthem is a partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Education and Royal Irish Academy of Music. Schools and groups from across the country have learned theEU Anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, in preparation for live performances of the Anthem around Europe Day. Schools have been invited to raise or display the EU flag when the anthem is performed. Each participating school has been sent a pack of EU50 materials including an EU Flag.  

Many of these young people will have also taken part in MyEU50: The Ireland EU50 Youth Competition, a competition for young people all across Ireland that focused on 50 years of Ireland’s EU membership. The initiative, led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and managed by European Movement Ireland, engaged with students at primary, post-primary and third levels and encouraged them share their creativity and new ideas about Ireland and Europe. More than 5,000 students took part.

17 Local Authorities have also organised events in towns and counties across Ireland to marki EU50 through special EU50 funding made available from the Department of Foreign Affairs. For more see here.

Government Buildings; the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Finance, and the Office of the Attorney General; the Department of Foreign Affairs, Leinster House, and the Custom House, will all be lit up in the European Union colours on Tuesday evening – an enduring symbol of our relationship with Europe.

Speaking ahead of Europe Day activities, the Tánaiste said:

“Joining the European Communities was a transformational moment in the history of this country. Over the last 50 years, Ireland has made remarkable progress, but has also contributed so much in the development of our modern European Union. We should be proud to celebrate all that has been achieved, and to look forward to the next 50 years. ”

Minister of State for European Affairs and Defence, Peter Burke TD said:

“I am very proud of the EU50 programme we have delivered over the last year and a half. Throughout EU50 we have engaged with citizens all across Ireland and through our Embassy network, particularly our young people. I am particularly pleased so many of them are taking part in schools activity for this Europe Day including through the Our Anthem Project. I am also delighted to see such a diverse range of events organised by local authorities and civil organisations across Ireland to mark this special anniversary.”

Press Office
8 May 2023



Notes to Editors:

The Programme for Government underlined the Government’s commitment “to being at the heart of the European home we helped to build” and to marking 50 years of Ireland’s membership of the EU.

Ireland’s signing of the Treaty of Accession to join the European Economic Community on 22 January 1972, 50 years after gaining our independence, was one of the most important events in Irish Foreign Policy and indeed, in modern Irish history. 83 percent of Irish people voted in favour of EEC membership.

Since January 2022, beginning with the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s historic signature of the Treaty of Accession, through the 18-month EU50 programme the Government has been marking the key milestones in our EU membership journey.

The EU50 programme has encouraged reflection upon and celebration of 50 years of membership across all society – particularly our youth. Government Departments, State Agencies, schools, third level institutions, local organisations, civic society, cultural organisations, local authorities, business groups our Embassy network and many more have all got involved in a wide ranging and diverse programme of events.

There has never been a better time to encourage interest and debate among citizens on Ireland in Europe. For more, please visit


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