A Weak Link? Irish National Security Policy on International Terrorism

Mulqueen, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9344-4246 (2007) A Weak Link? Irish National Security Policy on International Terrorism. Contemporary Security Policy, 28 (2). pp. 330-356. ISSN 1352-3260

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/13523260701489875


Throughout the Cold War, Irish national security was detached from Western priorities and its policy attracted little academic interest. But such detachment has become increasingly problematic. This paper argues that the threat of international terrorism underlines the need for a change of attitude among security scholars and policy managers alike. Irish policy on terrorism places at risk the security of other Western states and highlights deficiencies in the European Union's fight against terrorism. New evidence is explored here regarding Irish air and sea security, intelligence systems, and immigration procedures, underlining the international implications of each. Trenchant insights and reforms emerged from Irish experience in the weeks that followed the 11 September attack. The policies framed in that period, however, have not changed in any substantial way since. Within the literature on Irish security there are three key explanations for the shape of national policy: 1) political pressures on the security agencies; 2) financial pressures on these agencies; and 3) Anglo-Irish security considerations. Domestic deficiencies create problems for broader counter-terrorism efforts, especially at EU level. This challenges the premise that individual member states will help secure the Union as a whole.

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