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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 XII (1961-65)

From 1961 to 1965 Irish foreign policy embarked on new directions. Under Taoiseach Seán Lemass Ireland sought membership of the EEC, a process which stalled temporarily in 1963 when French President Charles de Gaulle vetoed Britain's application for EEC membership and Ireland's application, along with applications of Denmark and Norway, was halted a result.

Away from Europe the first half of the 1960s saw Irish diplomats at the United Nations develop Ireland's position as an independent-minded member of the organisation and Ireland took steps to promote nuclear non-proliferation, decolonisation and the effective financing of peacekeeping operations. In 1962 Ireland sat on the Security Council for a temporary term which coincided with the Cuban Missile crisis. 

Ireland's Defence Forces continued to serve with United Nations peacekeeping missions. With the end of the UN's mandate in the Congo in 1963 Irish soldiers joined the first units of UN peacekeepers deployed to Cyprus with UNFICYP in 1964.

DIFP XII covers these major themes, but it also includes significant documents on the June 1963 visit of President John F Kennedy to Ireland, early steps taken to create Ireland's development aid policy and the opening of Irish missions in Nigeria and India.

British-Irish relations and North-South relations receive considerable attention as Dublin and London took steps to establish a free trade area in the aftermath of the failure of Britain's EEC entry talks and on the island of Ireland Seán Lemass and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Terence O'Neill met to seek common ground between Dublin and Belfast in areas of cross-border co-operation.

One area of interest the volume reveals for the first time is the extent to which Seán Lemass controlled the exercise of Ireland's foreign policy, often instructing Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken as to the direction Irish foreign policy should take.

Learn more

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