Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., launches Documents in Irish Foreign Policy- Volume 6
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin T.D., launched “Documents in Irish Foreign Policy- Volume 6” at a reception at Iveagh House tonight. Covering the outbreak and early years of the Second World War this volume, number 6 in the series is entitled "The diplomacy of neutrality- securing sovereignty and Independence- 1939-1941”.
Speaking at the launch the Minister said:
“The documents assembled in this Volume shed a fascinating light on this critical period in our nation’s history: on the evolution of our policy of neutrality; on our relations with the main belligerents and, at a more human level, on the enormous personal challenges facing Irish diplomats working throughout wartime Europe.
As the world went to war in 1939, our young State entered a period of great peril and uncertainty. At a time when small nations faced threats to their very existence, our political leaders and the institutions of State sought to chart a safe course for our people through Europe’s darkest days.
Under the stewardship of the Taoiseach and Minister for External Affairs, Éamon de Valera, the Department of External Affairs and its diplomatic missions abroad were tasked with no less a challenge than helping prevent invasion, preserving neutrality and maintaining independence.
It has been of great interest to me personally, to see in this Volume the intense level of interest and involvement the Taoiseach of the day had in even the smallest details contained in Ireland’s State-to-State communications with Britain. He was constantly looking for ways, however small, to re-define and re-balance Ireland’s relationship with Britain.
In order to ensure even wider public access to these important histories, a project to place the first Volume in the series on the Internet through the DIFP website was completed last year. People from 84 different countries have accessed Volume I to examine these primary documents for academic work, as well as personal interest. Because of the success of this endeavour, I have decided to advance the project and place further Volumes online. Volume II and III will be available in February next year with the remaining volumes becoming accessible by the end of 2009. This will enhance the accessibility of these primary sources to our citizens and help promote the growth of Irish Studies around the world
In recognition of the importance of this initiative, I am pleased
to announce approval for a grant of €30,000 towards this online
While documents collected here are drawn from a unique period in history, there is much in the volume that resonates today in the work of today’s Department of Foreign Affairs. The Irish Diplomatic service may operate in a world grappling with the challenges of the 21st Century, but it is infused with the same professionalism and remains as vital to Ireland’s national development”.
Note for Editors:
This collaborative project with the Royal Irish Academy and the National Archives, to publish documents from the archives of the Department of External Affairs, began work in 1994 and this is the sixth volume to be published.
25th November 2008.