The Irish Neutrality Collection

A collection of well-thought out articles concerning the question of Irish neutrality, including a few of my own.

The status of Ireland’s neutrality seems to be in some doubt as overlapping security arrangements and different threats to European security muddle what used to be a fairly straightforward position. With that in mind the following articles are a collection of some well thought out arguments for and against Irish neutrality. Together they shed some light on little noted yet important developments in Irish foreign policy.

Unpicking the “Triple Lock” of Ireland’s defence Green Paper‘ by UCD professor Ben Tomra

It is also perhaps worth pointing out that even as a trope the notion of a triple lock is problematic since it is a single key that opens the first two locks. Irish governments within our parliamentary system must maintain a Dáil majority. Thus, while one can imagine extreme exceptions, by and large the will of a government will prevail in the Dáil and if it does not, then the government will usually fall. In truth, the only ‘lock’ that exists in the triple lock is the self-imposed legal requirement for some class of UN authorisation.

To reduce the threat of terrorism, stop bombing and close the Shannon airport to the US military‘ by UCD professor Julien Mercille

THERE HAS BEEN a lot of debate about the roots of the Paris terrorist attacks. But the immediate cause is plain to see: it is a response to western and Russian bombing of Syria and Iraq. Stopping military intervention and closing Shannon airport to the US military would thus be good steps to take to reduce the threats we face.

The erosion of Irish neutrality‘ by Ryan McCarrel, PhD Candidate Geopolitics at UCD school of Geography

The slow erosion of what constitutes UN authorisation was, and continues to be, an intentional maneuver to circumvent the UN security council. In particular, in response to growing weariness on the part of some Irish politicians who are tired of countries like China, using their position on the UN Security Council to veto international missions that the government would otherwise support…Of course, if we take that last point seriously, what it really means is that by 2006 the Irish government was looking for ways to side-step what was increasingly being regarded as an overly restrictive definition of neutrality.

In harm’s way‘ by Ryan McCarrel, PhD Candidate Geopolitics at UCD school of Geography

Given the current situation and the potential consequences at stake, we should be clear about what Article 42.7 does and does not require Ireland to do. The treaty states that “if a member state is the victim of armed aggression, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance, by all means in their power.” But goes on to stress that this assistance “shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain member states,” notably among them, neutral Ireland.

Academic articles:

Deconstructing the Myth: a study of Irish neutrality, 1939-1973‘ by Eugene Quinn

The myth of ‘the myth of Irish neutrality‘: deconstructing concepts of Irish neutrality using international relations theories’ by DCU professor Karen Devine

‘A Comparative Critique of Irish Neutrality in the ‘Unneutral’ discourse’ by DCU professor Karen Devine

Neutrality and the Irish Republic: Myth or Reality?‘ By Professor Trevor Salmon