INRL20080 Irish Foreign Policy

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module offers an exploration of the derivation, development and practice of Irish foreign, security and defence policies, with a particular focus on contemporary challenges. Students will gain a detailed insight into Ireland's place in the contemporary world order, the transformation of Irish national foreign, security and defence policy through its membership of the European Union and the efforts of Irish policy makers to pursue Irish interests and values within an evolving global order. This will include an analysis of Irish foreign policy strategy, policy making and economic, political and military enagement. It is intended that this module will provide a solid theoretical and empirical grounding for further advanced study, and will encourage students to compare and to evaluate critically competing understandings of Ireland in the world.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

• Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the evolution, formation and implementation of Irish foreign, security and defence policies.
• Debate and discuss these policies as they relate to a number of significant contemporary challenges.
• Evaluate and apply the major theoretical approaches in International Relations to Irish policies.
• Understand the role of the Ireland in the construction of the European Union's foreign, security and defence policy.
• Critically analyse Irish foreign policy through contrasting perspectives and utilising detailed empirical material.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The unit will be taught in an interactive lecture format. All students are expected to have read the specified material for each lecture, reflect critically on this reading and engage with internet sources to follow and to comment upon contemporary debates on Irish foreign policy. They also should be prepared to work collaboratively in pre-assigned student groups. The BrightSpace system will be used as a support to the module. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Group Project: Memorandum: pre-assigned student groups will submit a draft Memorandum to Government on a chosen foreign policy issue, setting out options and implications Week 8 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Commentary: at the end of week three, each student will have identified and submit a commentary on a single news article from a press/media source related to Irish foreign policy. Week 3 n/a Graded No


Examination: The final Examination will be an in-person essay-type examination covering the entire range of the module and this will account for remaining 45 percent of the final grade. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 1 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Required core text: Irish Foreign Policy, Ben Tonra, Michael Kennedy, Noel Dorr and John Doyle (eds.), Royal Irish Academy/Gill,

Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 304

ISBN: 9780717152643
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 10:00 - 11:50