The main task of DIFP is to research and publish volumes in the DIFP series, but the project also plays its part in promoting interest in the history of Ireland and its international relations. The DIFP news pages highlight the publication of new volumes in the DIFP series and show some of the project’s outreach involvements.

December 2014

n preparation for work on DIFP X, which will run from 1951 to 1957, Kate and Michael reviewed Cabinet minutes for the period and began to set the forthcoming research year for the volume in motion.

First views suggest that 1951 to 1954 was a relatively quiet period for Ireland’s foreign relations, but the period from 1954 to 1957 saw major changes as Ireland joined the United Nations in December 1955.

On 7 December Michael took part in an hour-long discussion on the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1 on the capabilities and capacities required to be Taoiseach.

 PRIA Professor Mary Daly presents Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Charles Flanagan TD with a copy of DIFP IX
Professor Mary Daly, PRIA presents Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Charles Flanagan TD with a copy of DIFP IX

November 2014

On 5 November we received the first copies of DIFP IX and through the month we set in place and rolled out a major publicity campaign on the new volume.

Michael appeared on the Seán O’Rourke Show on RTE1 on 13 November (Podcast here) speaking about the new volume and on 17 November Stephen Collins covered the volume in the Irish Times. DIFP editor Prof Ronan Fanning had an article on the volume in the Sunday Independent on 23 November. Michael discussed DIFP IX with Myles Dungan on The History Show on RTE Radio 1 on the same day.

The highlight of the month was the launch of DIFP IX by Minister for External Affairs and Trade Mr Charlie Flanagan TD at a packed reception attended by over 200 guests at Iveagh House on 20 November. Minister Flanagan's speech can be found here.

In light of the release of the letters between Jean-Claude Trichet of the ECB and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, Michael appeared on The Business on RTE Radio 1 on 8 November discussing significant historical documents involving Ireland’s finance ministers since 1922.

 (l-r) Prof Ronan Fanning, Dr Kate O’Malley, Dr Michael Kennedy, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, PRIA Prof Mary Daly, Prof Eunan O’Halpin, Prof Dermot Keogh at the launch of DIFP IX at Iveagh House, 20 November 2014.(l-r) Prof Ronan Fanning, Dr Kate O’Malley, Dr Michael Kennedy, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, PRIA Prof Mary Daly, Prof Eunan O’Halpin, Prof Dermot Keogh at the launch of DIFP IX at Iveagh House, 20 November 2014.

October 2014

Tuesday 7 October 2014 was the 90th anniversary of the formal commencement of Irish-American diplomatic relations, marking the day in 1924 when Prof Timothy A. Smiddy presented his credentials to President Coolidge in Washington DC.


Michael was part of a special panel held on 7 October at the Irish Embassy, Washington DC, addressing an invited audience of historians, diplomats, journalists and members of the Irish-American diaspora on the development of Irish-American relations between the wars.

On 9 October DIFP IX went to print at Koverto-ColourWorld in Kilkenny.

On 30 October Michael spoke to the Irish Literary Society in London on the role of Irish diplomat Conor Cruise O’Brien as UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s Special Representative in Katanga during 1961.

(l-r) Dr Troy Davis, Prof Bernadette Whelan, Prof Joe Lee, Ambassador Anne Anderson, Dr Michael Kennedy, Dr Gerard Keown, Irish Embassy, Washington DC, 7 Oct. 2014.(l-r) Dr Troy Davis, Prof Bernadette Whelan, Prof Joe Lee, Ambassador Anne Anderson, Dr Michael Kennedy, Dr Gerard Keown, Irish Embassy, Washington DC, 7 Oct. 2014.

September 2014

We completed the prelims to DIFP IX, checked the index and gave the text of the volume a final once over. By the end of September DIFP IX was almost ready for print.

On 13 September Michael gave the 2014 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Lecture in the Drumfree Community Centre, Buncrana, County Donegal, located close to Tip O’Neill’s birthplace. The lecture focussed on Irish-American relations during the Second World War. More details can be found here.

Michael spoke at the National Museum of Ireland on 28 September looking at Ireland and the world during the Second World War.

August 2014

We finally got the introduction and the prelims and endmatter of DIFP IX completed and off for copyediting in the first weeks of August. It was a very time-consuming period as there were a complicated series of amendments to implement.

In mid-August Michael had the great pleasure of chairing Professor John Horne’s (TCD) paper to the Parnell Summer School on Ireland and the First World War.

The entire text of DIFP IX is now complete and we are continually reviewing the text to tidy up loose ends and catch errors.

Michael’s Ireland, the United Nations and the Congo was reviewed very positively in the UN Tribune

Martin Fanning (Senior Editor, Four Courts Press), Michael’s co-author Commandant Art Magennis (retd.) and Michael at the launch of ‘Ireland, the United Nations and the Congo’, 3 June 2014.

July 2014

With the body text of DIFP IX finalised our attention turned to writing the introduction to DIFP IX. While it might sound like a straightforward task, the introduction is one of the most important parts of a DIFP volume and requires a great deal of care in drafting. It has to capture the content and nuances of the volume it introduces in a succinct and yet comprehensive manner. Not surprisingly, it took all of the month to get a draft in place and to feed in the comments, corrections and amendments of the editorial team.


June 2014

In early June Kate and Michael finished the mammoth task of checking the text of DIFP IX by reading out loud the typescript of our new volume against the original documents. This is in-depth and rigorous work - we have been at it since February, but it allows a very close edit of the text.

On 3 June Kate spoke on ‘post-independence Ireland and India’ at a major international conference on ‘Ireland and the Colonies’ held at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s University, Belfast. The programme can be found here
Michael’s 'Ireland, the United Nations and the Congo' was launched by former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieut General Seán McCann at a packed gathering in the Officers’ Mess at McKee Barracks in Dublin on the evening of 3 June.

On 6 June Michael appeared on The Seán O’Rourke Show on RTE Radio 1 talking about the covert Irish role in providing weather forecast information from which the D-Day landings were given the go-ahead by General Eisenhower.

At the end of the month Michael delivered one of the keynote addresses at a conference held at National University of Ireland Galway on Ireland and the Second World War. The programme is here:

May 2014

The typing of DIFP IX is almost complete, as it the checking of the text. As the month draws to a close we are working in the Spring of 1951 and have just 50 documents left to go. One of the emerging themes of the last months of the volume is the policy - or perhaps the lack of policy - on the overseas adoption of Irish children and how Irish ‘orphans’ were given visas to the USA by the Department of External Affairs.

Michael’s book on the Irish Defence Forces role in the United Nations ONUC mission in Congo in the early 1960s was published in the middle of May. Ireland, the United Nations and the Congo (Four Courts Press) casts new light on a very troubled episode in the history of UN peacekeeping. It will be launched in June by former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Seán McCann. Further details of the book can be found here

On 23 May the United States embassy in Dublin marked fifty years in its iconic building in Ballsbridge. Michael was interviewed by the Embassy’s public relations team for a short You Tube video on the history of the Embassy building and the clip can be found here

Finally in this busy month there was the publication of Frank Aiken: Nationalist and Internationalist (edited by Bryce Evans and Stephen Kelly, published by Irish Academic Press). Michael has a chapter on Aiken and the Congo Crisis and Kate has a chapter focussing on Aiken’s policy towards Tibet at the United Nations. For more details see:

Michael with fellow members of the International Committee of Editors of Diplomatic Documents, The Hague, 10 April 2014. (L-R) Dr Sacha Zala (Switzerland), Dr Marc Dierikx (The Netherlands), Dr Stephen Randolph (USA), Dr Ilse Dorothée Pautsch (Germany), Prof Jean-Luc de Paepe (Belgium), Dr Michael Kennedy (Ireland).


April 2014

DIFP was busy all through April with DIFP IX. With the typescript coming in we were checking the text by reading the typescript out loud and following it against images of the original documents. By the end of the month we had finished 1948 and 1949, which will constitute the majority of DIFP IX and were into the 1950s for the first time.

At the end of the month Irish Migrants in New Communities (eds Mícheál Ó hAodha and Máirtín Ó Catháin) was published (see here: Kate has a chapter in the book on the Irish in post-independence India - ‘“Nobody’s baby”: Forgotten Irish nationals in post-independence India’.


March 2014

It was another very busy month for the project as we continued to edit DIFP IX. By the end of the month we had 250 documents in place and had finished 1948 – one of the most complicated years in the history of Ireland’s foreign relations.

Our media outreach continued and Michael was interviewed for a forthcoming radio documentary on captured Second World War Irish merchant seamen who were forced to work in labour camps in Nazi Germany.

Michael also appeared on the History Show on RTE Radio one discussing the 1944 ‘American Note’ incident – one of the last major crises in Ireland’s Second World War foreign policy – which we cover in DIFP VII. The podcast is here:

On 15 March Michael spoke to the Stated Meeting of the RIA on his ongoing research – which will feature in DIFP IX – on how a number of suspected war criminals made it to Ireland after the Second World War.

Finally, on 28 March Michael spoke at a major conference on disarmament and non-proliferation organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, University College Cork and the Embassy of Japan in Ireland and held at the RIA. The programme and further details are here:


February 2014

DIFP IX really began to take shape through February as the typescript of the first hundred or so documents in the volume came in. Kate and Michael checked these against the originals and the editing process kicked-in in earnest. Each day we read through the typescript of documents, adding in footnotes, editing back repetitious documents and giving the volume a real shape.

Later in the month the two-part Pioneers and Aviators series on the history of Irish aviation, in which Michael was interviewed, was shown on RTE in a prime time evening slot. See here for more information:

Michael Kennedy with members of the Irish Aer corps at the launch of Pioneers and Avivators
Michael with members of the Irish Aer Corps
at the launch of 'Pioneers and Aviators'

Michael was also interviewed for an upcoming RTE documentary on the history of food on the development of Indian restaurants in Ireland – a topic he has worked on for many years and which always generates public interest.

DIFP began work assisting Military Archives with a project to digitise the records of Second World War coastal Look Out Posts which formed the basis of Michael’s 2008 book ‘Guarding Neutral Ireland’.


January 2014

The major event for the project this month was the selection of 835 documents that have become the core of DIFP IX. Over the coming months these documents will be typed up and Kate and Michael will check, edit and footnote them. Some will be deleted and others edited down to their essential parts. This is a very labour intensive task involving reading the typed text out aloud against the original to check for errors.

We continued to work on the Andrija Artukovic material and on 17 January Michael spoke at the UCD War Studies seminar on Artukovic and Ireland. See here

Later in the month, on 26 January, Michael appeared on The History Show on RTE Radio One talking about how it is necessary to reconsider how fugitives from Axis states got to Ireland after 1945. A podcast of the interview can be found here

In February RTE will broadcast ‘Pioneers and Aviators: A century of Irish Aviation’. Michael was interviewed for the documentary on the role aviation played in Irish foreign policy making and how Ireland’s geographic position made it of huge importance in 20th Century Aviation. You can learn more about the documentary here

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