The Militarisation of Ireland’s Foreign and Defence Policy: A Decade of Betrayal, and the Challenge of Renewal

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Written and researched by Mark Doris
- May 2008

This paper shows that Ireland's commitment to international peace, justice and disarmament has been progressively rolled back over the past decade. The record of recent governments and, to a lesser extent, of opposition parties and independents, in the area of Ireland‘s foreign and defence policy is set out in three parts.

The first part focuses on the controversial use of Shannon airport, in particular its use as a staging post or refuelling stop for troops and/or munitions en route to a war in Afghanistan of dubious legality and an illegal war in Iraq, and its use by agents of the United States as a stopover point in secret abduction and torture operations.

The second part outlines the extent to which Ireland has become involved in various military structures outside the remit of traditional United Nations peacekeeping missions. These include NATO and the newly-formed EU Battlegroups. The third part summarises the Government‘s response to Ireland‘s participation in the international arms trade. Afri intends this paper to be a resource that will assist ongoing monitoring and debate in this important area of Irish policy.

We also wish to suggest what the current government – elected by the 30th Dáil – must do to reverse the process of militarisation we have witnessed over the last decade, and how Ireland's foreign and defence policy might be demilitarised and renewed in the future.

Download document (pdf file 530 kb): militarisation-irl.pdf

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