Irish interaction with empire: British Cyprus and the EOKA Insurgency, 1955-59
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date00/-2/31-1
This research is the first of its kind to explore the complexity of the Irish interaction with empire using one particular case study, British Cyprus during the period of the EOKA insurgency, 1955-59. There are three main areas of enquiry. Firstly, it traces the Twenty-Six County response to decolonisation in Cyprus. Ireland’s anti-colonial credentials have been cited frequently but all too fleetingly. No comprehensive study has been done on post-independent Ireland’s response to British decolonisation anywhere. Popular opinion and how it was reflected in the Irish press organs is examined to gauge if the response was an expression of a wider Irish anticolonial sensibility or a suitable peg upon which to hang Irish nationalist grievances. In dealing with the republican response to the EOKA insurgency, it reveals that no closer relationship was formed between active Irish republicans and foreign anticolonial insurgents than that which existed between the IRA and EOKA. Secondly, this work deals with the Irish institutional response to the Cyprus Question. The motivations behind the muted response by the Catholic Church and the more active response by the Church of Ireland are examined. In the field of Irish foreign policy, it covers the Irish government’s official response and the substantial role played by Irish delegates at the Council of Europe and at the United Nations on the Cyprus Question. Thirdly, this work analyses the Irish participation in British Cyprus during the period of the EOKA insurgency. In the latter half of the 1950s, Ireland continued to be far more involved in Britain’s colonial outposts than the hegemonic nationalist narrative then or since has acknowledged. This work serves as a corrective by providing an account of the Irish judicial and military contribution to law and order in Cyprus during the period of the EOKA insurgency. The research sheds light on neglected aspects of 1950s Ireland and enriches the existing literature on Ireland and Empire. It adds new depths to the existing body of material dealing with the Cyprus Emergency. The importance of the discoveries made by analysing the Irish interaction with the Cyprus Emergency adds weight to the concept of approaching British imperial history using the archipelagic or ‘fournation’ model. The following provides one piece of that particular jigsaw.