Secret contingency plans for a World War Three said that more than half a million Irish people would be fit for military service.
Classified files disclose arguments by Ireland's intelligence services for a "friendly" pact with the UK in the event of a threatened nuclear holocaust.
The four-page document, from February 23, 1981, states Northern Ireland would be "essential" to Britain's security in such a global conflict but access to the rest of Ireland would "significantly enhance" its chances.
Stamped 'Secret' and titled 'The Strategic Importance of Ireland to the UK in Times of War', it was drawn up in preparation for a feared outbreak of atomic war between the Soviets and the western world.
Despite its official neutrality, the report warns that Ireland may not have been spared a nuclear strike, with Shannon and Bantry Bay pinpointed as likely targets.
It outlines potential help to NATO member Britain "bearing in mind that one of the guiding principles of nuclear warfare is the dispersal of forces and facilities so as to present as small a target as possible to the enemy".
In a pact, Ireland could have offered "over 500,000 of its citizens fit for military service" as well as sites for missiles, 38 airfields, six major and 38 minor ports, a potential supply of oil and a staging post for reinforcements from North America".
Source and full story: Irish Independent, 31 December 2011