Expected publication date: 31 May 2024
This book explores events from August 1969 to the end of 1975, a period longer than that of The Emergency (1939–45). These were the years dominated by an ever worsening conflict in Northern Ireland which required decisions that Dublin governments were not always well equipped to make.
The wrong ones over, for example, the potential deployment of the Irish Defence Forces across the border either in 1969 or in 1974, could have had catastrophic results for the government, for the state itself and for its relations with Britain, the United States and with the European Economic Community which its people voted to join in 1972.
With limited resources, the state had to try and stop a resurgent IRA, with which many Irish people were sympathetic, operating across its border against targets in Northern Ireland. It also had to try, but arguably failed, to stop devastating acts of loyalist terror against its own people, acts which have remained unpunished.
This book offers readers a powerful narrative drawn from state and military sources, and it also incorporates fully the human costs of events. It explores the belief of some in Dublin in 1974–5 that Britain might withdraw from Northern Ireland and the implications this would have had for the Irish State.
‘Neither then nor since’, Garett FitzGerald has written, ‘has public opinion realised how close to disaster the whole island came’.