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Title: The Irish Army and state security policy, 1956-74
Author: Longwill, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5618
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2009
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Security policy is an essential component of any state's governance. It consists of addressing present and predicted future threats to the state's external, border or internal security. In the past security policy analysts merely examined subjects with a myopic militarist or threat based analysis. However in recent years the field became more sophisticated and researchers must assess policy in relation to broader, interconnected considerations such as the state's economic capacity to support the military, domestic idiosyncrasies which may generate public opinion and influence the political elite, foreign policy and international relations. The Republic of Ireland in the period from 1956 until 1974 offers a case study to examine how a small, neutral, economically weak state, with a persistent internal security challenge and varying degrees of border instability, attempted to protect and advance its interests. After the Second World War the army struggled to justify its economic burden because it did not fulfil any realistic security role and the government's insistence that it remained in a secondary support role to the police further confined the military. However UN service completely regenerated the army, gave the state a means to elevate itself in international affairs and revealed the Irish military compared favourably to other militaries. The sudden outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict in 1969 confirmed the long-held dictum that even if no security threats are foreseeable the military is nonetheless an essential arm of the state. The Irish state used the military to process and accommodate an influx of refugees, asked the army to draw up realistic intervention plans to cross the border, and faced the prospect of a north-south or Anglo-Irish war. Remarkably, despite the challenge, state security policy rapidly adapted and maintained relative stability. With the moderate use of the military for internal security, the use of the army along the border to placate British security concerns, and the gradual measured implementation of security legislation, the state succeeded in advancing its interests and assertively projected its influence in Anglo- Irish diplomacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available