Is All Politics Local? The Role-Orientation of Irish Parliamentarians toward Foreign Policy

Shane Martin

Whereas numerous recent studies have explored the structural and procedural ability of national parliaments to provide oversight of transnational issues such as European integration, the nature of individual parliamentarians' interest in foreign policy is a subject that has received little attention. The general assumption is that electoral incentives and informational deficiencies dissuade parliamentarians from actively engaging politics beyond the domestic realm. 


This paper suggests an analysis of parliamentary questions as a method for measuring individual parliamentarians' interests in foreign policy. Applying this technique to the Dáil uncovers evidence that, contrary to theory-derived conventional expectations, some parliamentarians do seek to monitor the government's foreign policy agenda. While conventional explanations of legislative role-orientation only weakly predict variations in observed behaviour, elite interviews identify lobbying by interest groups and foreign governments as the motivation for some Irish parliamentarians' engagement in foreign affairs.


Irish Political Studies, vol. 28 (1): 114-129.

Published Sep. 29, 2014 10:38 AM - Last modified Sep. 29, 2014 10:45 AM