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Ireland votes for change

Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 4:56pm

The impact of Ireland’s referendums of 1972 is the focus of a new exhibition at UCC Library which was launched this week.
The exhibition is entitled, ‘1972: Ireland Votes for Change’, and marks the 45th anniversary of three seminal referendums of that year – the lowering of the voting age to 18, removing the special position of the Catholic Church from the Constitution and Ireland’s Accession to the EEC (EU). It has been made possible by the donation of Neville Keery’s papers to UCC Library.

Now retired, Keery had a long and illustrious career as a journalist, administrative officer, Senator, and senior European Commission official. His active role in the 1972 referendums is reflected in his archival collection, which will be open for public consultation from January 2018.

The exhibition features photographs of Patrick Hillery and the Irish delegation negotiating Ireland’s entry into the EU, members of Fianna Fáil’s Into Europe campaign and Taoiseach Jack Lynch signing the accession treaty, in addition to original campaign material from both sides and publications produced for voters.

Other original artefacts include a medallion given to Ireland’s ‘Euro babies’, born on the day of Ireland’s accession to the EC, January 1, 1973. Clips from an exclusive interview conducted by Dr Theresa Reidy, lecturer in government, UCC, with Neville Keery, in which he speaks about his career, the role he played in the events of 1972, and the ongoing Brexit question, are also featured.

Organised by UCC Library and curated by UCC Library’s archivists Emer Twomey and Emma Horgan, the exhibition was launched on Wednesday by eminent historian Professor Emeritus JJ Lee at the Boole Library.

The exhibition’s timeliness is striking, given the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union after more than four decades of membership, which has raised many questions on the ramifications of this decision for Ireland, not least where Northern Ireland is concerned, according to its organisers.

The opening hours of the exhibition, which offers free admission and runs until December 15, are: Monday-Thursday 8am-1.45am, Fridays 8am-8.45pm, Saturdays 10am-5.45pm and Sundays 6pm-1.45am.

 

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