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Irish foreign policy in transition
Author: Ben Tonra

This book offers a new way of looking at Irish foreign policy, linking its development with changes in Irish national identity. Many debates within contemporary international relations focus on the relative benefits of taking a traditional interest-based approach to the study of foreign policy as opposed to the more recently developed identity-based approach. This book takes the latter and, instead of looking at Irish foreign policy through the lens of individual, geo-strategic or political interests, is linked to deeper identity changes. As one Minister of Foreign Affairs put it; ‘Irish foreign policy is about much more than self-interest. The elaboration of our foreign policy is also a matter of self-definition—simply put, it is for many of us a statement of the kind of people that we are’. Using this approach, four grand narratives are identified which, it is argued, have served to shape the course of Irish foreign policy and which have, in turn, been impacted by the course of Ireland's international experience. The roots and significance of each of these narratives; Ireland as a European Republic, as a Global Citizen, as an Anglo-American State and as an Irish Nation are then outlined and their significance assessed. The shape of Irish foreign-policy-making structures is then drawn out and the usefulness of this book's approach to Irish foreign policy is then considered in three brief case studies: Ireland's European experience, its neutrality and Irish policy towards the 2003 Iraq War.

Ben Tonra

11 Conclusions on an Irish role in the world Introduction We began this exercise asking how one might outline a picture of Irish foreign policy. Clearly the dominant approach that we have at our disposal is one based upon an excavation of ‘national interests’ (or ‘raisons d’etat’) and the subsequent pursuit of rational explanations for human behaviour. These approaches have traditionally added much to our knowledge of human nature and human relations. A very different approach, by contrast, is rooted in understanding rather than explanation – an understanding

in Global citizen and European Republic
Abstract only
Ben Tonra

1 Introduction What is happening to Ireland and Ireland’s role in the world? Those who study and write on Irish foreign policy1 appear to be divided. Some argue that Ireland’s evolving place in the world has been a function of individual choices.Thus, they map the Republic of Ireland’s course through the choppy seas of international politics by reference to the personalities and preferences of its political leaders and senior officials. These detailed, empirical stories centre, for example, around the efforts of W.T. Cosgrave to redefine the British Empire

in Global citizen and European Republic
Ben Tonra

2 The narrative of the Irish Nation Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to look at one of the earliest and arguably most powerful narratives in Irish foreign policy – that of the Irish Nation. This narrative was constructed from several discourses related to Irish nationhood and the struggle for political independence. The most central of these debates surrounded competing conceptions of the nation. In large measure, the dominant narrative that was thereby established defined Ireland almost as the reverse image of England and its ‘British’ state. When

in Global citizen and European Republic
The democratic coda
Ben Tonra

7 Policy actors and structures: the democratic coda Introduction The aim of this chapter is to review the structures, both formal and informal, through which democratic control is exercised over the formulation and conduct of Irish foreign policy. It is evident from the previous chapter that in the 1980s and 1990s the winds of a gentle revolution were sweeping through the corridors of Iveagh House. Some of the resulting change in executive structures, roles and procedures could be seen to be a result of Ireland’s twenty-five-year engagement in Europe and an

in Global citizen and European Republic
Ben Tonra

3 The narrative of the Global Citizen Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to establish the parameters of the second great identity narrative in Irish foreign policy discourse – that of Ireland as a Global Citizen. In the previous chapter attention was focused upon the way in which the construction of Irish nationalism and the independence struggle had provided a frame for Irish foreign policy. This frame prioritised independence, sovereignty, the restructuring of bilateral relations with the United Kingdom and the ending of partition as pre

in Global citizen and European Republic
The executive drama
Ben Tonra

6 Policy actors and structures: the executive drama Introduction The objective of this chapter is to outline the central political and bureaucratic framework from which Irish foreign policy is constructed and to analyse the significance of its evolution. Traditionally, Irish foreign policy has been seen as a creature of government and thus of the ministers and the departmental officials directly concerned with the pursuit of foreign policy objectives.This chapter will argue that in so far as the executive remains at the centre of the foreign policy process in

in Global citizen and European Republic
Nicholas Rees

5306ST New Patterns-C/lb.qxd 1111 21 3 4 51 6 7 8 9 10 1 1112 3 411 5 6 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 1 211 3/9/09 16:45 Page 167 9 Ireland’s foreign relations Nicholas Rees Introduction This chapter examines the impact of Europeanisation on the formation and development of Irish foreign policy. Ireland has traditionally been a small player on the international stage, but one that is viewed with having played a more significant role in international affairs than its size, resources and geostrategic location might suggest (Tonra, 2007

in Europeanisation and new patterns of governance in Ireland
Ben Tonra

4 The narrative of the European Republic Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to outline the development and potency of the third grand narrative in Irish foreign policy identified by this study, that of Ireland as a European Republic. The narrative of the European Republic is based upon a particular conception of sovereignty. This narrative argues that the Irish are part of a distinct regional ‘family’ and underlines the limited nature of the Irish state’s capacity to shape its external environment. In pursuit of that capacity – faced with a range of

in Global citizen and European Republic
Mervyn O’Driscoll

taken to apply. Ireland’s economic destiny was hitched to Britain’s but Denmark began to infringe more heavily on this food marketplace. This chapter traces the German discernment of, and contributions to, the alterations and deliberations taking place within Ireland about its place in the world. The period after Lemass became Taoiseach in June 1959 was a dynamic period but there were strong forces of continuity. Lemass actively redefined and Westernised Irish foreign policy. He encroached on the bailiwick of Frank Aiken in a way de Valera had not. Germany approved of

in Ireland, West Germany and the New Europe, 1949– 73