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.
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: http://irishacademicpress.ie/product/frank-aiken-nationalist-and-internationalist/
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: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780739173824). Kate has a chapter in the book on the Irish in post-independence India - ‘“Nobody’s baby”: Forgotten Irish nationals in post-independence India’.
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: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/the-history-show/programmes/2014/0309/507971-the-history-show-sunday-9-march-2014/?clipid=1431197
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: http://www.ucc.ie/en/history/news/fullstory-462407-en.html
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: http://pioneersandaviators.avolon.aero/
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’.
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