Documents on Irish Foreign Policy

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy is a project of the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Archives of Ireland and was established in 1997. The project publishes essential source material for anyone interested in the development of Irish foreign policy since 1919.

New volume just published - Documents on Irish Foreign Policy IX (1948-51)

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy IX covers the three years and four months of Irelandís first coalition government. Comprising Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan and the National Labour Party, it was known as the ĎInter-Party Governmentí. It was in office from February 1948 to June 1951, and led by John A. Costello of Fine Gael.

Clann na Poblachta leader and former 'Chief of Staff' of the illegal IRA, SeŠn MacBride, chose the External Affairs portfolio. MacBride dominated the foreign policy of the Inter-Party Government, however he was new to the conduct of international affairs. This was reflected in his idiosyncratic approach to the handling of Irelandís foreign policy.

Book Launch During 1948 and 1949 Inter-Party Government foreign policy moved at a rapid pace. Ireland left the Commonwealth, declared itself a Republic, refused to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) (though remaining virulently anti-Communist), participated in the European Recovery Program (Marshall Aid), was a founder member state of the Council of Europe and pursued an internationally active, although ultimately unsuccessful, stance on ending the partition of Ireland.

During its final eighteen months, in contrast, the Inter-Party Governmentís approach to foreign policy became low-key. This was a consequence of decisions taken during its earlier period in office. With Marshall Aid coming to an end, Dublin had, apart from bilateral relations with fifteen states, only its membership of the Council of Europe and a range of European and international technical organisations to connect it to the international system.

By the summer of 1951, as MacBride prepared to leave Iveagh House, Irelandís external relations were increasingly international in scope but limited in context by design and reach. The question of how Ireland could most effectively and actively play a positive role in the post-war international system remained unanswered.


For further information and queries contact Dr Michael Kennedy, Executive Editor, DIFP†at difp@ria.ie

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy is a project of the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Archives of Ireland and was established in 1997. The project publishes essential source material for anyone interested in the development of Irish foreign policy since 1919.

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The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
 

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International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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