Ireland and NATO: A Distinctly Low-Profile Partnership
Cottey assesses the relationship between Ireland and NATO, characterising it as a distinctly low-profile partnership. Irish neutrality emerged in the struggle for independence from Britain, was consolidated in the Second World War and has become deeply embedded domestically since then. When NATO established the Partnership for Peace (PfP) in the 1990s, domestic wariness of the Alliance made Ireland a late-comer in joining the programme. Ireland eventually joined PfP in 1999, driven in particular by NATO’s growing role in peacekeeping (with Ireland contributing forces to the Alliance’s operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo). With NATO’s role in peacekeeping declining, partnership with the Alliance will have less salience for Ireland—although military interoperability with NATO members remains important for the Irish defence forces.
The author wishes to thank Ben Tonra for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. The chapter has also benefitted from insights from a number of Irish and NATO officials.
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