Ireland became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955. Obligations and Responsibilities: Ireland and the United Nations, 1955-2005 of fifteen essays, compiled through 2005 to mark fifty years of Irish United Nations membership, employs new research to provide fresh perspectives exploring this country’s contribution to the United Nations over those fifty years.
The authors examine the impact of United Nations membership on Irish foreign policy from the 1950s to the present day and the part played by Irish politicians and diplomats, most prominently Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Frederick Boland, in developing the United Nations system. The roles played by the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána in United Nations peacekeeping operations are also critically assessed.
Individual chapters are devoted to key events over the fifty years: the origins of Defence Forces involvement in peacekeeping, the Niemba massacre in the Congo in November 1960, the place of the United Nations in Irish policy towards the Middle East, towards sub-Saharan Africa and towards decolonisation in Africa and Asia in the 1960s, and the role of the United Nations in the early months of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1969.
The result is the most comprehensive analysis of Ireland's United Nations policy yet published and a major contribution to understanding Irish foreign policy in the second half of the twentieth century.