Policy bases on principle of peaceful settlement of disputes


Values in Ireland's foreign policy

IRELAND'S foreign policy is about more than self interest. It is based on principles of peace and co-operation amongst nations, peaceful settlement of international disputes and the principles of international law.

To prosper and ensure our security, Ireland must engage with other nations in a common effort to maintain a stable framework for international relations, where the rights of small nations are given equal weight to the interests of the strong.

Ireland and Europe

The EU is an integral part of our future, and Irish people see themselves more and more as European.

Ireland welcomes the prospect of the enlargement of the EU, but does not want the accession of poorer countries to undermine the Cohesion Funding and agricultural support existing members, including Ireland, receive.

The fight against drugs must remain a central part of the work of the EU.

Government policy is aimed at qualification for the final stage of Economic and Monetary Union.

Ireland will be open to proposals at the forthcoming Inter Governmental Conference (IGC) to advance the process of European integration. The IGC must not be seen as an excuse to change the balance of power between EU institutions, and Ireland could not countenance losing its right to nominate a full member of the European Commission.

A Common Foreign and Security Policy is in Ireland's interest.

Ireland will seek changes to the EU Treaties to strengthen the Union's response to unemployment and to challenges to the environment.

International security

Military neutrality has served Ireland well. That policy will not be changed unless the people decide to do so in a referendum.

Ireland's policy will be to, strengthen the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe as a permanent organisation for European security co-operation, and to further strengthen its capacity for preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping.

The Government is to explore the prospect of participation in the Nato sponsored Partnership for Peace programme. Participation on appropriate terms would not affect Ireland's policy of neutrality. A decision to participate would have to be approved by the Oireachtas.

The Government has decided to discuss with the Western European Union the possibility of Ireland's taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

The Government will not be proposing that Ireland should seek membership of Nato or the Western European Union.

The United Nations

The building of a strong and effective United Nations continues to form a key objective of Ireland's foreign policy.

Ireland will continue to seek a more representative Security Council, and will seek election to that body in the year 2000.

The Government will establish an Inter Departmental Liaison Group to ensure a more focused Irish position in UN bodies. The Minister for Foreign Affairs will publish annual reports on issues at the UN and Ireland's voting record on them.


The Government will use the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy to advance its disarmament objectives ensure that the presidency of the EU is used to promote disarmament issues seek Irish membership of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and be represented at a forthcoming UN Review Conference on the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.

The Government will continue to press for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. It also wants a total ban on anti personnel land mines.

The Government intends Ireland to be a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention when it comes into force. This will impose mandatory obligations on Ireland in the area of monitoring, production and use of toxic chemicals by the chemical industry.


The Government is committed to sustaining the overall level of Ireland's contribution to peace keeping. But in view of the number, size and complexity of current peacekeeping operations, the State will have to develop ii selective response to future requests from the UN.

The Government will set up a Standing Inter Departmental Committee on Peacekeeping, and envisages appointing a military adviser to serve in the permanent mission to the UN.

The mandates of peacekeeping missions should take human rights considerations into account, obliging personnel to report human rights violations that they witness.

The Government will seek to make use of Ireland's peacekeeping expertise in order to assist other countries to develop training facilities.

Involvement in future peace enforcement operations will be predicated on having been legitimised by the UN Security Council that they have clear, unambiguous and urgent objectives that cannot be attained by other reasonable means that command and control arrangements for the mission conform with Security Council decisions and that diplomatic efforts to resolve the underlying disputes be resumed at the earliest possible moment.

Human rights

The Government is taking measures to ensure a continuing strong profile for human rights issues in Ireland's foreign policy. These include the establishment of a human rights unit in, the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Government will place a strong emphasis on human rights issues during the presidency of the EU, and will initiate a campaign to seek membership of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The focus on human rights and democratisation in the Irish Aid programme will be strengthened.

Development co-operation

The Government aims to make further significant increases in Overseas Development Aid in the years ahead to put Ireland's performance on a par with its European partners and with the ultimate aim of meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNP.

The Government will commit significant resources to the rehabilitation of Rwanda and to posy apartheid South Africa, in addition to existing outlets for Irish aid.

The Government will establish a humanitarian liaison group to co-ordinate the response of Government departments and agencies. It will set up a rapid response register of personnel from the public service and elsewhere who would be available for speedy deployment for emergency relief activities.

The Irish abroad

The network of honorary consuls representing Ireland abroad will be expanded in areas of the world where Ireland is under represented and where there is a need for a consular service.

Public interest in policy

The Minister for Foreign Affairs will hold public seminars on aspects of foreign policy in the future.