Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Previous Irish Presidencies

The current Presidency: January – June 2013

Ireland has held Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 6 other occasions. 

Previous Presidencies

January – June 2004

 Logo from Ireland's Presidency in 2004

Taoiseach: Bertie Ahern

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Brian Cowen

In an historic and emotional ceremony the Irish Presidency welcomed ten new Member States, including eight Central and Eastern European states, into the European Union on “The Day of Welcomes” in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. The accession heralded the single biggest expansion of the EU in its history. The Irish Presidency also orchestrated the successful completion of negotiations on the European Constitutional Treaty, which contained the many innovations eventually implemented through the Lisbon Treaty.  There were successful summits with the US and Russia.The theme of this Presidency was "Europeans - working together".


July – December 1996

Logo from Ireland's Presidency in 1996

Taoiseach: John Bruton

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Dick Spring

In a European Council held in Dublin agreement was reached on numerous issues around the introduction of the single currency. These included the legal framework, stability pact and a new exchange rate mechanism. This would be further developed to become the Amsterdam Treaty, which focussed on the rights of EU citizens and established mechanisms to further boost the role of the European Parliament in the EU decision-making process.


January – June 1990

 Logo from Ireland's Presidency in 1990

Taoiseach: Charles Haughey

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Gerry Collins

Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall at the end of 1989, the Irish Presidency held two major EU summit meetings in Dublin which agreed a warm EU welcome for German reunification. The meetings also agreed a common approach to German reunification and to community relations with Central and Eastern European countries after the collapse of the Iron Curtain.


July-December 1984

Taoiseach: Garret FitzGerald

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Peter Barry

During the 1984 Presidency, the EU signed the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement with China, and made major progress on accession negotiations with Spain and Portugal. The European Council meeting in Dublin agreed to reinforce the European Monetary System (EMS) and to grant the European Currency Unit (ECU)  a more important role.


July-December 1979

Taoiseach: Jack Lynch / Charles Haughey

Minister for Foreign Affairs:  Michael O’Kennedy / Brian Lenihan

The first direct elections to the European Parliament took place just weeks before the start of the Presidency. Simone Veil was elected as the first President of the European Parliament.  The European Monetary System (EMS) was also established this year.


January- June 1975

Taoiseach: Liam Cosgrave

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Garret Fitzgerald

The inaugural meeting of the European Council was held in Dublin in March 1975.  Ireland’s first Presidency oversaw the creation of the European Regional Development Fund, which played a key development role in all Member States in subsequent decades.  Ireland also oversaw the first Lomé convention, a trade and aid agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.