The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA
€ 50.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

January 2023


ISBN: 978-1-911479-57-4


PDF icon ai_difp_13.pdf

Out now!

The thirteenth volume in the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series runs from April 1965 to July 1969. It covers the Fianna Fáil governments of Seán Lemass (April 1965 to November 1966) and Jack Lynch (November 1966 to July 1969) in which Frank Aiken was Minister for External Affairs.

The four years and three months covered by DIFP XIII saw significant changes in the international context in which Ireland conducted its foreign policy. In 1965 the hope of the Department of External Affairs was that Ireland would enter the European Economic Community (EEC) before 1970. EEC entry would take place alongside that of Britain, an Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area (AIFTA) having come into operation in 1966, cementing trade between Ireland and its principal trading partner. Overall, the United Nations would remain the benchmark of global Irish foreign policy. Peacekeeping, advocating nuclear non-proliferation and ensuring the proper financing of the United Nations as well as promoting decolonisation and the universality of the United Nations system within the bipolar world of the Cold War remained central to 1960s Irish foreign policy.

These assumptions were thrown out of balance by the continuing refusal of France to facilitate the expansion of the EEC and EEC membership remained out of reach for Ireland. Dublin’s fragile relations with Belfast were destabilised with the emergence of new social and political forces in Northern Ireland and the recurrence of sectarian violence. The Department of External Affairs proved initially unable to respond comprehensively to this new environment in Northern Ireland, which was the precursor to the outbreak of the Troubles in 1969. Improved economic and political relations with London were affected by local and international economic difficulties and also as a consequence of events in Northern Ireland. At the United Nations, superpower politics constrained Irish attempts to follow up the success of the 1968 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty with a major policy initiative on the financing of international peacekeeping missions.

In the press

- Dublin Review of Books, February 2023 reviewed by Rory Montgomery MRIA - 'Before the Deluge' "One of the pleasures of this volume, as of other recent volumes which have moved into the period of living memory, is to note the ways in which the Ireland of then was very different from that of today."

- From the RTÉ television archives: Irish Foreign Policy Documents 1965 and Ireland, Zambia, Biafra 1967

RTE, January 2023: Times change: David McCullagh on Irish foreign policy in the 60s

- January 2023 issue of History Ireland carries an article on the Nigerian-Biafran conflict based on some of the documents in the volume.

- A short series for the National Archives ‘Files in Focus’ series, exploring documents about the Irish message brought to the Moon by Apollo 11, the vexed issue of landing rights for US airlines in Ireland, and the resignation of French president Charles de Gaulle.

- RTÉ Brainstorm – landing rights and de Gaulle’s attitude to Ireland and an account of what the Australian’s thought of the Irish in the late 1960s

- Article in The Irish Times by John Gibney looked at the impact of the emergence of the Troubles  on Irish-America, as reflected in many of the documents in the volume.

See the latest news on this volume, including a Spotify soundtrack to get you in the mood!


In case you missed John Gibney's presentation on DIFP at Research Day 2022, watch it here:

Images reproduced by permission of the Director of the National Archives. 


About the authors

Michael Kennedy

Dr Michael Kennedy has for almost three decades written and published widely on modern Irish history, in particular on Irish military and diplomatic history and on Irish foreign policy. He has been the executive editor of the RIA's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series and head of the DIFP series since 1997. Previously he lectured in Irish and European history at Queen's University, Belfast and received his doctorate from the NUI in 1994 on the early history of Ireland’s relationship with the League of Nations.  Michael appears regularly on television and radio discussing aspects of Irish history ranging from lighthouses to embassies to the history of curry houses in Dublin. Michael is a former member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, a Research Associate of the Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College, Dublin and was a Visiting Professor at Liverpool Hope University from 2009 to 2018. He was also formerly an adjunct Professor of History at University College Dublin. He is the co-author (with John Gibney and Kate O'Malley) of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and (with Daniel Ayiotis and John Gibney) of The Emergency: A visual history of the Irish Defence Forces during the Second World War, 1939-1945 (Eastwood, 2019).

Eunan O'Halpin

Eunan O'Halpin MRIA is the Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College, Dublin. He is also an editor of the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series. His most recent publications are: Head of the Civil Service: A Study of Sir Warren Fisher, Defending Ireland: The Irish State and its Enemies since 1922 and MI5 and Ireland, 1939 – 1935. He is a co-editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy: Volume I, 1919-22, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy: Volume II, 1923 – 1926 and Documents on Irish Foreign Policy: Volume III, 1926 – 1932. He is currently co-editing a study of Anglo-American security co-operation between 1914 and 1949. For more information about the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy research project please check

Kate O'Malley

Dr Kate O’Malley is Assistant Editor with the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin (BA, PhD). Her book Ireland, India and Empire was published by Manchester University Press in 2008. She is co-author (with Michael Kennedy and John Gibney) of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and, with John Gibney, of The Handover: Dublin Castle and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022). She has lectured at Trinity College, Dublin, University College Dublin and Queen's University, Belfast. 

Bernadette Whelan

Bernadette Whelan MRIA is professor emeritus in the Department of History, University of Limerick. She is a co- editor of the Document of Irish Foreign Policy series. She publishes extensively on American Irish diplomatic relations. Among her publications are De Valera and Roosevelt. Irish and American Diplomacy in Times of Crisis, 1932-1939 (Cambridge University Press, 2021) awarded the American Conference of Irish Studies Lawrence J. McCaffrey Prize for Books on Irish America; ‘A real revolution’: Ireland and the Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament movement, 1933–2001’, Irish Historical Studies, November 2021; with Mary O’Dowd and Gerardine Meaney, Reading the Irishwoman: Studies in Cultural Encounters and Exchange, 1714-1960 (Liverpool University Press, 2013); American government in Ireland, a history of the US consular Service 1790-1913 (Manchester University Press/Palgrave, 2013). She is currently completing a study of the evolution of the role of first lady and first gentleman in Ireland between 1919 and 2011.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Jennifer Redmond

Jennifer Redmond, PhD is Assistant Professor in Twentieth Century Irish History in the Department of History at Maynooth University. She has served as Vice Chair of the Royal Irish Academic Historical Studies Committee and as President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland and is on the executive committee of the Irish Historical Society. She sits on the Editorial Boards for Women's History Review and the Documents in Irish Foreign Policy series. Her publications include the edited collection (with Elaine Farrell) Irish Women in the First World War Era: Irish Women’s Lives 1914-18 (Routledge: 2020) and Moving Histories: Irish Women’s Migration to Britain, from Independence to Republic (Liverpool University Press, 2018). She has a particular interest in the Second World War and the Irish in Britain and teaches and researches in the area of modern Ireland with a focus on women and gender histories.


John Gibney

John Gibney is Assistant Editor with the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series. His books include The shadow of a year: the 1641 rebellion in Irish history and memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and A short history of Ireland, 1500–2000 (Yale University Press, 2017). He is the co-author, with Michael Kennedy and Kate O’Malley, of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and, with Kate O’Malley, of The Handover: Dublin Castle and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022).