Irish Euroscepticism was imported by the British
In the early 1970’s every British national newspaper bar one came out in support of European integration, against a background of public hostility. 62 percent of the public were against entry to the European Economic Community according to a 1971 Harris opinion poll, but four years later 67 percent of Britons fell in line with the press and voted in favour of continued membership.
More recently a European Commission report cited the growth of British newspapers in Ireland as instrumental in shifting public opinion towards rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. UK titles accounted for 41 percent of newspaper sales in Ireland by 2007, with papers like the Irish Sun and the Irish Daily Mail taking a “campaigning Europhobic stance”.
Irish titles have becoming increasingly dependent on UK papers for their European news. The Irish Independent no longer has its own Brussels correspondent and gets its European political news from the Eurosceptic Daily Telegraph whilst the Times was rumoured to be refusing pro-European stories from staff
As Ireland’s press moved from being broadly pro-European to being more Eurosceptic so did the Irish. Newspapers both form and reflect public opinion, but there can be little doubt that Irish Euroscepticism owes a debt to the British press.