Did you know that the SB Overseas Headquarters is located in Brussels of Belgium?!
On the 1st of January 1973, the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community, now known as the European Union (EU). Membership of the EU helped Ireland to grow and develop. In the 1970s and 1980s, farmers were able to establish their own markets and set prices for their products. Roads and communication technology were also improved through funding received from the EU. In 2002, Ireland adopted the euro as its currency. During the 1990s, many American technology companies set up in the Republic of Ireland. Many new jobs were created as a result of these new companies. For the first time in Irish history, thousands of people came to Ireland from other countries to look for employment.
Between the 1990s and the early years of the new century, Ireland became a much wealthier country. As a result of this boom in the economy, this period became known as the Celtic Tiger years. Thousands of new buildings were built all around the country.
Why is “Bruxelles” special?
Bruxelles Bar played such a huge part in the birth of the Irish music scene. To Skid Row, then Thin Lizzy, this became their second home around the late 1960’s-early 1970’s. BRUXELLES bar in Harry St. just off Grafton Street adopted the name ‘Bruxelles’ to mark Ireland’s joining of the European Economic Community (EEC).
The Saloon is where it all happens and everyone’s welcome. A random selection of past visitors include Michael Flatley, Paul Scholes, Brian O’Driscoll, Kevin Moran, Brian Kerr, Oasis, Paul Weller, Charlie Pride, Girls Aloud, The Charlatans, John Denver, Pat Shortt, Iron Maiden, Snow Patrol, James Belushi, Phil Lynott, Imelda May, 50 Cent, Ronnie Wood, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White.
A brief history of Ireland…
In 1914, a world war began. It was known at the time as The Great War and it was later called World War I. It lasted until 1918. Britain took part in this war and many Irish men fought in the British army in the trenches of France. At that time, all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom and was ruled from the parliament in London.
The First World War ended in November 1918 and a general election was called in London. Huge numbers of Irish people voted for a party called Sinn Féin and elected their members as Members of Parliament (MPs). People knew that any Sinn Féin candidate who won a seat in the election would not go to the parliament in London. They knew that they would try to set up a parliament in Ireland instead. On the 21st of January 1919 the newly elected Sinn Féin MPs called a meeting at the Mansion House in Dublin and set up a new parliament called Dáil Éireann. This was the first meeting of the Irish Dáil and the new parliament declared that Ireland was now independent. They later chose Éamon de Valera as the first president of the Dáil.
After the Sinn Féin MPs set up the new parliament in 1919, Ireland then had two governments; one was the new Dáil Éireann in Dublin and the other was the British parliament in London. Both had courts and both collected taxes, which resulted in a lot of disorder. Violence soon broke out in Ireland and the army of Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), began to attack people who supported British law.
The Irish people voted in the Constitution of Ireland in 1937. The constitution is still used today. It sets out the rights of Irish citizens. It also states that Irish people have the right to govern themselves and to make their own laws. The constitution can be changed but only if a referendum is held and if a majority of people agree to make these changes.
Ireland was divided into two parts with a border in between. A group called the Boundary Commission was set up to investigate whether any more of the northern counties should join the Irish Free State. Six counties remained under the rule of England. This area became known as Northern Ireland and today it is still part of the United Kingdom. Most Irish people supported the new arrangement however there were also many people who didn’t agree with the division of Ireland into two parts. A civil war broke out between the people who were in favour of the treaty and those who were against it. In the end, the people who fought in favour of the treaty won the civil war. In 1948, the Irish Free State broke its remaining ties with Britain and became a Republic.
Ireland went through some difficult times after the end of World War II.
From the 1950s, many Irish people emigrated to other countries because there was very little work in Ireland. However, the economy improved in Ireland in the late 1960s.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a group in favour of Northern Ireland joining the Republic started bombings and tried to remove British troops and British rule in Northern Ireland. This group was called the Provisional IRA. Many people were killed or maimed in the bomb blasts. Other groups like the Ulster Defence Force (UDA) fought the IRA and the nationalist population. These groups carried out terrible shootings and killings. People were murdered just because they were from a certain religious group. These killings are called sectarian killings. Other people were murdered because they were members of the RUC police force, or in the British army, or just because they worked for the security forces.
On Sunday, the 30th of January 1972, British troops fired on protesters in Derry, in an area called the Bogside. This day became known as Bloody Sunday. Twenty-seven civil rights marchers were shot and thirteen died. Many of these victims were teenagers caught up in the civil rights rally. The army reported that they had shot at protesters who were armed, however witnesses later gave evidence to say that those who were shot were unarmed. Bloody Sunday was an event which caused terrible suffering and sadness amongst those who lost loved ones. It also led to an increase in violence as people attacked the army and committed revenge killings.
For further reading on the history of Ireland, click here.
The Irish Refugee Council is Ireland’s only national non-governmental organisation working with refugees and people in the asylum process. There are now 40 people every fortnight arriving in Ireland from war torn areas. However, the organisation needs much more financial support to cater for the integration of these families and children into Irish mainstream schools and society.