Ireland

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Voted in favour of adopting TPNW

Has signed TPNW, but not yet ratified

Ireland has signed but not yet ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Simon Coveney, the minister for foreign affairs of Ireland, signed the treaty on 20 September 2017, describing it as a “ground-breaking treaty”. The government announced in September 2019 that it hopes to complete its ratification of the treaty “before the end of this year”.

Ireland participated in the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and voted in favour of its adoption.

A bill to give effect to the treaty under Irish law was introduced to the Irish legislature, known as the Oireachtas, on 22 July 2019. In introducing the legislation, the minister of state, Ciarán Cannon, noted the leading role of Ireland in the process resulting in the adoption of the treaty. The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Bill passed all stages in Seanad Éireann on 4 December 2019.

Ireland has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, including by co-sponsoring a UN General Assembly resolution in 2019 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, Ireland described the moment as “a pivotal point in our international relations, a time to take stock and honour the testimony of the past, to decide what sort of present we wish to live in and what sort of legacy we wish to leave for future generations”.

It commented that “we are not just writing a new and complementary treaty here, we are taking the opportunity to write a new history and in so doing to create a new, more stable, more secure and more equal future for all”.

Ireland, Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa comprised a “core group” of states that played a leading role in bringing the negotiations about and ensuring their ultimate success. 

In 2016, Ireland was a co-sponsor of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence the negotiations in 2017 on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Ireland was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” in 2015–16 to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”. The pledge was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.