Published: Thu, 18 April 2013
The Single Market is one of the great achievements of the European Union. It allows us to move, live, work and trade freely across a Union of 28 member states and 503 million people.
Many of the tragedies of Irish history can be linked protectionism which discriminated either directly or indirectly against Irish people, Irish goods and services.
The infamous Corn Laws of the 19th Century set up a barrier against non-UK corn entering the UK market.
This drove up the cost of domestic corn, driving up food prices and creating a greater dependency on the potato, which led to the Great Famine.
The Economic War of 1934-38 saw Irish agriculture ruined by wrong-headed and self-destructive economic nationalism by both the British and Irish Governments.
The EU Single Market prevents these types of wrong-headed policies from ruining ordinary peoples’ chances in life by guaranteeing the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital.
It allows us to travel freely to other parts of Europe, it provides our businesses with the opportunity to sell Irish products and services to 503 million people without fear or favour from other governments.
It has permitted Ireland to be a hub for multinationals which are keeping our economy afloat despite the implosion of our banks and their friends, the developers.
The Single Market is therefore a silent triumph of the European project. We have guaranteed access to a market of 503 million people.
Without it, we would be set adrift, a small island in an increasingly hostile and competitive world economy.