Formation of the Irish neutrality concept in the 1930s

Olha Nahnybida

Graduate student, National Pedagogical University of Ukraine, Kyiv

UDС 94:341.214(415) «1930/1939»



The article describes the specific aspects of the appearance, formation and evolution of the Irish neutrality as a foreign policy principle in the 1930s. The historical and geopolitical background of the formation of neutrality policy in the context of the struggle for independence and sovereignty of Ireland has been investigated. The role of Prime Minister Éamon de Valera as an ‘architect’ of neutrality policy of the Irish Free State and its foreign policy concept has been explored. It is emphasized that, unlike other neutral states, where the neutral status is legally secured, the neutrality of Ireland is of a traditional nature, since there are no clear legislative instructions according to which Ireland shall be obliged to adhere to the principle of neutrality in its foreign policy. The overcoming of the last obstacles to the proclamation of the neutral status of Ireland has been outlined, i.a. the elimination of the British naval presence in the Irish ports in 1938 and adoption of the Irish Constitution in 1937, which officially defined the annexation of Ulster. Finally, the influence of forthcoming WW2 has been explored. In the years of war, Ireland hoped to keep abstained not by adherence to some theoretical or abstract idea of neutrality, but by addressing to the practical question that the Irish government didn’t want to get involved in this conflict. They merely wanted to keep their people safe away from such consequences as they might appear when Ireland was directly involved in the war.


Ireland, neutrality, foreign policy, Northern Ireland, security policy.

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