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Departmental Records and DIFP

Each Division holds administrative and policy files relating to its particular area of responsibility including Ministerial and other correspondence. Certain Divisions, including Corporate Services Division, Consular Division and the Passport Office also hold records containing personal information.

Documents on Irish Foreign Affairs

The Documents on Irish Foreign Policy project delves into the archives of the Department of Foreign Affairs to give you a fascinating look at how our foreign policy has developed since 1919.

About the project

We’ve been working with the Royal Irish Academy and the National Archives of Ireland since 1997 to bring you the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy project, an absorbing series a publications of source material from our archives.

These publications are essential reading for any student of modern Irish history and can be downloaded free or bought in hardback online.

New volume just published - Documents on Irish Foreign Policy X (1951-57)

DIFP X runs from June 1951 to March 1957. It encompasses two administrations: the June 1951 to June 1954 Fianna Fáil government of Éamon de Valera, and the June 1954 to March 1957 Second Inter-Party government of Fine Gael, Labour and Clann na Talmhan, led by Fine Gael's John A. Costello.

Each administration saw a new Minister for External Affairs take office. Fianna Fáil's Frank Aiken and Fine Gael's Liam Cosgrave were hardly political novices, yet despite their experience, both men were new to the development and execution of Irish diplomacy. Their respective Taoisigh, both having long-term involvement in international affairs, maintained a considerable intellectual influence over the direction of foreign policy.

The years from 1951 to 1955 were the nadir of Ireland's post-war international isolation. Outside the main international bodies of the post-war world, Ireland lacked a strong international voice.

Admission to the United Nations in December 1955, as part of a Cold War package deal, brought Ireland back into the mainstream of international affairs.

After December 1955 a new focus and a wider direction, centred on the United Nations General Assembly, entered Irish foreign policy. The volume thus covers a significant turning point in Ireland's foreign relations.

Over the following year the United Nations came to dominate Ireland's international relations. Policy was defined by a belief in the primacy of the United Nations Charter, a desire to maintain Ireland's international independence of action and a strong anti-Communist tone. It was the beginning of a dynamic decade at the United Nations which would put the organisation centre-stage in Ireland's foreign relations.

For further information and queries contact Dr Michael Kennedy or Dr Kate O'Malley at difp@ria.ie

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy is a project of the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Archives of Ireland and was established in 1997. The project publishes essential source material for anyone interested in the development of Irish foreign policy since 1919.

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Volume 8 (1945-1948)

Nazi gold, fugitive war criminals, the threat of nuclear war and the growing dominance of Communism. Read how Ireland’s diplomats dealt with these and other challenges after the Second World War in Volume 8 of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (1945-1948).

You can download some volumes for free or buy hardback editions online. 

While this period was previously thought to be one of vacuum and general isolation, in fact, the post-war years saw Ireland engage with a wide range of multilateral organisations, open new Embassies and Consulates and repair relations with states, in particular the United States and Britain, which had suffered during the Second World War.

Irish Foreign Policy Documents from 1923 to 1932

A new collection of Irish foreign policy documents from 1923 to 1932 is also available free online. Amongst the topics covered are:

  • The final months of the Irish civil war from an international and diplomatic perspective
  • The Boundary Commission
  • Ireland's admission to the League of Nations
  • League of Nations assemblies from 1923 to 1931
  • Ireland's election to the Council of the League in 1929 and Ireland's term on the Council 1930-32 (to Feb. 1932)
  • The Imperial Conferences of 1923, 1926 and 1931 and Commonwealth policy to 1932
  • The Balfour Declaration (1926) and the Statute of Westminster (1931)
  • Bilateral relations with Britain, the United States, France, Germany and the Vatican City
  • The Japanese invasion of Manchuria
  • The collapse of Weimar Germany and the rise of Nazism
  • Irish views on the Briand Plan for a European Union (1930)
  • The Great Depression

Learn more

Visit the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy website to learn more about the project.