Breaking ranks: the emergence of representative associations in the Irish armed forces 1989-1992

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Martin, Michael
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University College Cork
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This study contexualises the relationship between the armed forces and the civil authority in Ireland using and revising the theoretical framework advanced by Huntington. It tracks the evolution of the idea of a representive body for soldiers in the late 1980s, to the setting up of statutory associations under the Defence Amendment Act 1990. The study considers Irish soldiers political agitation and their use of peaceful democratic activities to achieve their aims. It highlights the fundamental policy arguments that were made against the idea of representation for the army and positions those arguments in the study of civil-military relations. Utilising unique access to secret Department of Defence files, it reveals in-depth ideological arguments advanced by the military authories in Ireland against independent representation. This thesis provides an academic study of the establishment of PDFORRA. It answers key questions regarding the change in the position of Irish government who were categorically opposed to the idea of representation in the army. It illustrates the involvement of other agencies such as the European Organisation of Military Associations (Euromil) reveals reciprocal support by the Irish associations to other emerging groups in Spain. Accessing as yet unpublished Department of Defence files, study analyses tension between the military authorities and the government. It highlights for the first time the role of enlisted personnel in the shaping of new state structures and successfully dismmisses Huntingtons theoretical contention that enlisted personnel are of no consequence in the study of civil-military relations. It fills a gap in our understanding, identified by Finer, as to how politicisation of soldiers takes place. This thesis brings a new dimension to the discipline of civil-military relations and creates new knowledge that will enhance our understanding of an area not covered previously.
PDFORRA , Representative associations in Ireland , The right of association , Freedom of assembly and association , Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association
Martin, M., 2010. Breaking ranks: the emergence of representative associations in the Irish armed forces 1989-1992. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.