- Foreign relations of the Republic of Ireland
The foreign relations of Ireland are substantially influenced by its membership of the
European Union, although bilateral relations with the United Statesand United Kingdomare also important to the country. It is one of the group of smaller nations in the EU, and has traditionally followed a non-aligned foreign policy.
Ireland tends towards independence in foreign policy, thus it is not a member of
NATOand has a longstanding policy of military neutrality. This policy has helped the Irish Defence Forcesto be successful in their contributions to UN peace-keeping missionsFact|date=August 2008 since 1960 (in the Congo Crisis) and subsequently in Cyprus, Lebanonand Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ireland is consistently the most
pro-Europeanof EU member states, with 77% of the population approving of EU membership according to a Eurobarometerpoll in 2006. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb65/eb65_en.htm Standard Eurobarometer 65] "Question QA11a: Generally speaking, do you feel that (OUR COUNTRY'S) membership of the European Union is...? Answers: A good thing." Survey conducted May-July 2006, published July 2006.] Yet the Irish rejected the EU Lisbon treaty in the summer of 2008. Ireland was a founding member of the eurosingle currency. In May 2004, Ireland was one of only three countries to open its borders to workers from the 10 new member states. EU issues important to Ireland include the Common Agricultural Policy, corporation tax harmonizationand the EU Constitution. As of 2008, Dick Rocheis Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ireland has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Unionon six occasions (in 1975, 1979, 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2004) and is scheduled to hold the presidency again in 2013.
Since independence, Ireland had been involved in a dispute with the
United Kingdomover the status of Northern Ireland. Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Irelandformerly claimed Northern Ireland as a part of the "national territory", though in practice the Irish government did recognise the UK's jurisdiction over the region. With the onset of the Troublesin 1969, the Irish government sought an accommodation with the British government to bring the violence to an end Fact|date=August 2008. Following the burning of the British embassy in Dublin in 1972, the Sunningdale Agreementof 1973 and the Anglo-Irish Agreementof 1985 were important steps in this process. In 1998, both nations signed the Belfast Agreementand now co-operate closely to find a solution to the region's problems. Articles 2 and 3 were amended as part of this agreement, the territorial claim being replaced with a statement of aspiration to unite the people of the island of Ireland. As part of the Belfast Agreementthe two states also ended the dispute over their respective names: "Ireland" and the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Each agreed to accept and use the others' correct name.
Irish Governmenthas sought, with mixed success, to prevent the importation of weapons and ammunition through the state by the illegal IRA, for use in their conflict with the security forces in Northern Ireland. In the 1970s the Irish warship, the LÉ Ciaraintercepted a ship carrying weapons from Libyawhich were more than likely destined for the republican paramilitaries. Law enforcement acts such as these additionally improved relations with the government of the United Kingdom. However, the independent judiciary blocked many attempts to extradite suspects between 1970 and 1998 on the basis that their crime might have been 'political'.
Ireland is also a party to the Rockall continental shelf dispute that also involves
Denmark, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. Ireland and the United Kingdom have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area. However, neither have concluded similar agreements with Iceland or Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands) and the matter remains under negotiation. Iceland now claims [http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/key2/196-1985] a substantial area of the continental shelfto the west of Ireland, to a point 49°48'N 19°00'W, which is further south than Ireland.
Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plantin western Englandhas been a contentious issue between the two governments. The Irish government has sought the closure of the plant, taking a case against the UK government under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, the European Court of Justicefound that the case should have been dealt with under EU law. [ [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/064-4617-023-01-04-911-20060123IPR04616-23-01-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm Irish Government must pursue Sellafield case via EU] — European Parliamentpress release, 8 June2006.] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1786089,00.html Irish Sellafield appeal ruled illegal] — " The Guardian" news article, 30 May2006.] As of 2006, David Reddawaywas the British ambassador to Ireland, and Dáithí Ó Ceallaighwas the Irish ambassador to the United Kingdom.
List of Ambassadors from the United Kingdom to Ireland"
The use of
Shannon Airportas a stop-over point for US forces en-route to Iraqhas caused domestic controversy. Opponents of this policy brought an unsuccessful High Court case against the government in 2003, arguing that this use of Irish airspace violated Irish neutrality. [ [http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IEHC/2003/64.html Horgan v. An Taoiseach & others IEHC 64 (28 April 2003)] — High Court judgement in the unsuccessful case brought by Ed Horgan] Foreign direct investmentby U.S. companies is vital to the Irish economy — the U.S. is Ireland's largest source of foreign investmentFact|date=August 2008, and exports to the U.S. amounted to 10% of GDP in 2005. [http://www.amcham.ie/article.cfm?idarticle=315 Trade and Investment Factfile] — from the American Chamber of Commerce in Irelandwebsite (retrieved 15 November2006)] The large Irish-Americanpopulation in the United States strengthens ties between the two countries.
The U.S. government has appointed a
Special Envoy to Northern Irelandto help with the Northern Ireland peace process. As of 2006, this position is held by Mitchell Reiss. Areas of interest between the U.S. and Ireland include the Northern Ireland peace process, the status of Irish illegal immigrants in the U.S. [ [http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20051201-114736-2697r.htm Ireland backs U.S. legalizing illegal aliens] — " Washington Times" newspaper article, 2 December2005 (retrieved 13 November2006)] and investment by U.S. companies in Ireland. As of 2006, Noel Faheywas the Irish ambassador to the United States, and Thomas C. Foleywas the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.:"See also: Embassy of the United States in Dublin, United States Ambassador to Ireland"
The United Nations was founded in 1945, but Ireland's membership was blocked by the
Soviet Unionuntil it joined in 1955. [http://www.unac.org/en/link_learn/canada/pearson/part_iv.asp] As of 2006, the Irish ambassador to the UN was David J. Cooney. [ [http://www.un.int/ireland/ Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations] — retrieved 13 November2006] Ireland has been elected to the UN Security Councilas a non-permanent member on three occasions — in 1962, in 1981-1982 and most recently in 2001-2002. [ [http://www.un.int/ireland/ie_un.htm Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations] — retrieved 13 November2006]
Ireland is a member state of the
International Criminal Court, having signed the Rome Statute in 1998 and ratified it in 2002. [ [http://www.icc-cpi.int/asp/statesparties/country&id=70.html International Criminal Court: Ireland] — retrieved 13 November2006]
Ireland has a long history of participation in UN
peacekeepingefforts starting in 1958, just three years after joining the UN. As of 2006, 85 members of the Irish Defence Forceshad been killed on peacekeeping missions. [http://www.military.ie/overseas/irl_un.htm Overseas Service: Ireland and the United Nations] — from the Irish Defence Forceswebsite, retrieved 13 November2006]
"List of major peacekeeping operations:" [http://www.military.ie/overseas/missions_list.htm Defence Forces Service Overseas: List of Missions] — from the Irish Defence Forces website, retrieved
*June 1958–December 1958:
UNOGILobserver mission to Lebanon
UNTSOmission to the Middle East
ONUCmission to Congo
*1964–present: UNFICYP mission to
*1973–1974: UNEF II mission to
Sinaiafter the Yom Kippur War
UNIFILmission to Lebanon
UNIIMOGmission to the Iran- Iraqborder following the Iran–Iraq War
UNOSOM II"peace enforcement" mission to Somalia
SFORmission to former Yugoslavia
*1999–present: KFOR mission to
INTERFETmission to East Timor
UNMILmission to Liberia
EUFOR Chad/CARmission to Chadand the Central African Republic
Ireland is a member of or otherwise participates in the following international organisations: [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ei.html CIA - The World Factbook - Ireland] —
CIA World Factbookentry (retrieved 15 November2006)] Asian Development Bank, Australia Group, Bank for International Settlements, Council of Europe, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, European Space Agency, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Criminal Court, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, International Development Association, International Energy Agency, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Finance Corporation, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Maritime Organization, Interpol, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, International Organization for Migration, Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Organization for Standardization, International Telecommunication Union, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nuclear Energy Agency, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Organization of American States(observer), OECD, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Paris Club, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Partnership for Peace, United Nations, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNESCO, UNHCR, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, United Nations Mission in Liberia, United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, Universal Postal Union, World Customs Organization, Western European Union(observer), World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, World Trade Organization, Zangger Committee.
Ireland's aid program was founded in 1974, and in 2006 its budget amounted to €734 million. The government has set a target of reaching the Millennium Development Goal of 0.7% of
Gross National Productin aid by 2012, a target which is projected to amount to €1.5 billion based on current GNP growth. [http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=710 Ireland’s Overseas Aid Increases by 11.4%] — Irish government press release, 4 April2006.] Irish development aid is concentrated on eight priority countries: Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, Vietnamand East Timor. [http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/about_faqs.asp Irish Aid: Frequently Asked Questions] — Irish government website, retrieved 13 November2006.] in 2006, Malawiwas announced as the ninth priority country, with a tenth country to follow. [http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/whitepaper/ Irish government white paper on aid] — Irish government white paper, 2006] As of 2008, Michael Kittwas the Minister of State with special responsibility for Overseas Development and Human Rights at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
There have been no serious civil, human or social rights abuses/problems in the State, according to
Amnesty Internationaland the U.S. State Department. [ [http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/europe-and-central-asia/western-europe/ireland Amnesty International - Ireland] ] [ [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100565.htm US Department of State - Human rights in Ireland, 2007] ] The country consistently comes among the top nations in terms of freedom and rights ratings.
Common Travel Area
*Relations between Israel and Ireland
Irish diplomatic missions
List of diplomatic missions in Ireland
Message to the Free Nations of the World
* [http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/treaties/irish-treaty-series-database.asp Legal Treaties - Department of Foreign Affairs] — text of treaties signed by Ireland.
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