Women did not receive the same rate of pay as men prior to Ireland joining the European Union in 1973. Unmarried men also received less pay than their married counterparts. In the Public Service at that time, there was a salary scale for married men and separate lower salary scale for women and single men.
The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. The EEC became the European Community (EC) in 1993 and the European Union (EU) in 2009. When Ireland joined the EU on January 1st 1973 it became bound by the Treaty of Rome. Article 119 of the Treaty stipulated that each member state should ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work.
In 1974 Ireland passed the Anti-discrimination (Pay) Act. However the world energy crisis, which began in 1974 caused great economic difficulties in Ireland. As a result the Government decided to postpone the implementation of the Act, giving equal pay for equal work to men and women until 1977. The EU however, compelled the Irish Government to implement the Anti-discrimination (Pay) Act in 1976.
The EU rejected an application by the Government of Ireland for derogation from its directive for equal pay for equal work to men and women in the year 1976 On This Day.