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    Irish Neutrality What are the Costs and Benefits of Ireland’s Policy of Neutrality?

    Burke, Conor (2004) Irish Neutrality What are the Costs and Benefits of Ireland’s Policy of Neutrality? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Irish Neutrality - What are the Costs and Benefits of Ireland’s Policy of Neutrality? Irish Neutrality is a policy that has evolved since the foundation of the State. The exposure to major conflicts since statehood was achieved by Ireland has been relatively limited. Ireland’s policy of neutrality has been essentially a pragmatic policy and in Irish terms successful as a neutral stance has assisted in affirming sovereignty for Ireland as an independent nation. The Irish people have cherished neutrality as a concept. Neutrality has become a symbol of Irish identity and has assisted in keeping Ireland out of war. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, changing World Order, increased European integration, freer movements of populations, new terrorists threats, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the time has come for neutral states to question whether a neutral stance is the most appropriate option to follow in the 21st century. My research explores Irish Neutrality, investigating initially definitions and obligations associated with neutrality, and examining the concept of Irish Neutrality from a historical perspective to assess its credibility and compatibility with membership of international organizations. The study further attempts to analyse the costs and benefits to Ireland of a neutral policy to ascertain if such a policy is the most appropriate for Ireland to follow. My research is important as Ireland, a country that values it contributions to UN membership, deploys its aimed forces on more robust UN missions, becomes a more established member of the EU and participates more effectively in PfP structures. While neutrality is referred to extensively by Irish politicians, it is not enshrined in the Irish Constitution and although it is a flexible and pragmatic policy, it is actually not a very tangible entity. To pursue a policy of neutrality implies the application of impartiality towards all belligerents in a conflict. Ireland has joined PfP which some Irish people see a stepping-stone to NATO membership. With increased participation in PfP mechanisms and improved interoperability between the Defence Forces and NATO members, there is a possibility that Irish Neutrality could be compromised. Relying on extensive text analysis and interviews with key informants of Irish Neutrality, my final analysis concludes that there has been limited debate on this subject and what is required is enlightened debate in order to assess it appropriateness for Ireland as European integration and expansion continues.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Irish Neutrality; Policy of Neutrality;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 5086
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2014 13:10
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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