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The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces$
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Hugo Meijer and Marco Wyss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790501

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790501.001.0001

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(p.330) 18 Ireland
The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces

Ian Speller

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the evolution of Irish defence policy from the end of the cold war through to 2017. It provides an analysis of national strategy, military doctrine, and force structures and reveals how these have evolved to meet new challenges and opportunities. The chapter explains how successive governments have sought to balance a reluctance to devote significant resources to defence and the desire to maintain the longs-tanding tradition of neutrality with a commitment to international engagement through the UN and active participation in a number of UN peacekeeping missions overseas. It also examines how the relationship with NATO and the EU has evolved. The chapter explores changes to the role and structure of the Defence Forces since the 1990s and concludes with an examination of existing policy and future challenges in the aftermath of the 2015 defence review.

Keywords:   Ireland, Irish Defence Forces, defence, CSDP, NATO, PfP, neutrality, peacekeeping

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