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Ireland’s EU Presidency

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How did Ireland do when holding the presidency of the European Union?

Holding the six month presidency of the EU is a monumental task in terms of administration, finance and leadership. On Ireland’s penultimate day of the EU presidency, José Manuel Barroso accepted the job as EU Commission President. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is proud of his success in finding a person for the role.

Members of the public gave very positive feedback on Ireland’s performance in the EU leadership role. Even government detractors were full of praise.

I think Ireland did a fantastic job.

Former Fine Gael TD and current Director General of the Institute of International and European Affairs, Alan Dukes, said that the government passed with distinction when it came to EU enlargement, received honours on the treaty but said that they must try harder on all other issues. Alan Dukes feels that the government’s aspirations were not fully achieved as they were far too ambitious.

At the beginning of its term in the presidency, the Irish government set out a number of objectives including EU enlargement, economic growth, security and global engagement.

With six summits, 25 ministerial meetings, and hundreds of official level meetings, the presidency was a huge undertaking. The cost of the presidency is still unknown but is estimated to be in the region of sixty million euro.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 June 2004. The reporter is Anna Murphy.

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