Ireland

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 August 2015

Five-Year Review: State Party Ireland was one of the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. It enacted implementation legislation in 2008, prior to signing and ratifying the convention. Ireland has attended all of the convention’s meetings and works to promote universalization of the convention. Ireland has frequently condemned new use of cluster munitions, including in Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Ireland has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the convention.

In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2011, Ireland confirmed it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions and has not retained any for training or research purposes.

Policy

Ireland both signed and ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010.

Ireland’s implementing legislation for the convention is the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act 2008.[1] In 2009, the Irish Defence Forces issued an instruction to all Irish commanders and staff officers serving overseas laying down “strict parameters for implementation” of the act, “including inter alia directives concerning engagement in military cooperation and operations with states not party to the convention.”[2]

Ireland submitted its initial Article 7 report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 January 2011 and has provided annual updated reports since, most recently in June 2015.[3]

Ireland was a driving force behind the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions and was a member of the small “Core Group” of nations that took responsibility for steering the process to its successful conclusion. Ireland hosted the formal negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008 and bears a great deal of the responsibility for the successful outcome of the negotiations and the strength of the convention.[4]

Ireland engages proactively in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014. Ireland has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, most recently in June 2015.

Ireland continues to promote the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including its universalization. In a March 2015 statement to the Conference on Disarmament, Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, highlighted the convention for “contributing to establishing strong international norms and outlawing those weapons which are found to be indiscriminate or inhumane in their effects.”[5]

At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Ireland stated the convention is “establishing a new norm in international humanitarian law and the establishment of such a norm naturally implies aiming for universal acceptance of that norm” emphasizing the convention’s “impressive level of adherence” and its “unarguable stigmatisation impact.”[6] Ireland committed to “continue to advocate for greater adherence through bilateral contacts with non-states parties as well as through the opportunities provided by multi-lateral conferences in a variety of forums.” It pledged to “continue to do this, even when not successful, as it is vital to maintain these channels of communication.”[7]

In June 2015, Ireland again condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria and expressed deep concern at reports of new use of cluster munitions in Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine, and Yemen. Ireland called on states and non-state armed groups to not use cluster munitions and urged states not party to join the convention as soon as possible.[8] Ireland called on States Parties to clearly condemn the use of cluster munitions, as the convention’s First Review Conference provides an important opportunity to further strengthen and solidify the norm against the use of cluster munitions.[9]

At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October 2014, Ireland said it was “horrified to hear of ongoing use of cluster munitions in Syria, this year and are deeply concerned about reports of use in Ukraine and in South Sudan.”[10] At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Ireland condemned “the ongoing use of cluster munitions by and in Syria” and stated “equally, we are deeply concerned about reports of use in Ukraine and in South Sudan.” It called on all states to refrain from using cluster munitions and join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, noting how the use of cluster munitions “in armed conflicts on three continents demonstrates the vital importance of working to broaden adherence to” the convention.[11]

Ireland has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria since 2012.[12] It voted in favor of four Human Rights Council resolutions in 2014 and 2015 that condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently on 2 July 2015.[13] Ireland has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.[14]

Interpretive issues

Ireland has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

With respect to the prohibition on assistance with prohibited acts during joint military operations and the provisions of Article 21 of the convention, Ireland stated in 2009 that “any deliberate assistance in the commission of an act prohibited by the Convention in the context of military co-operation with a state not party will be inconsistent with this obligation to make its best efforts to discourage the use of cluster munitions by the latter and that Article 21(3) must be interpreted accordingly.”[15] Ireland’s national legislation includes a section on implementation of Article 21, which the Department of Foreign Affairs has said “is not to enable assistance with prohibited acts…Rather, this provision is intended to ensure that no person may be prosecuted for an act or omission that might otherwise constitute assistance but is unintended or inadvertent, or has only a remote or indirect relationship to the commission of a prohibited act by a state not party to the Convention.”[16]

Regarding the prohibition on the transit of cluster munitions across, and the foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on, the territory of States Parties to the convention, in 2011 Ireland stated that it “recognizes that in any case in which these issues might arise it will be necessary to consider to what extent at all, the provisions of Article 21 of the Convention apply,” adding that “inevitably this may be different in each case.”[17]

Ireland’s implementing legislation prohibits investment of public money in cluster munition production, which made Ireland the second country to prohibit investment in cluster munitions and set a leading example for the implementation of the convention.[18] The law contains a clear and unambiguous prohibition on “direct or indirect” investment in cluster munition producers, including producers of components specifically designed for cluster munitions. It stipulates the responsibilities of the investor, including to exercise “due diligence.”[19] Some NGOs have raised concerns about implementation of the law.[20]

Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund, which is responsible for financing Ireland’s national pension requirements, announced the withdrawal of €27 million (US$39,760,200) from six international companies linked to the production of cluster munitions in 2008 following a request from the Irish government.[21] After Ireland enacted implementation legislation on the convention, the National Pension Reserve Fund disinvested from another seven companies and rejected four others from future investments, based on their involvement in the production of cluster munitions or antipersonnel mines.[22]

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Ireland has declared that it has not produced or stockpiled cluster munitions.[23] Ireland has also stated that it has never used or transferred cluster munitions.[24]

Ireland is not retaining any cluster munitions for research or training purposes.[25] Ireland has supported the retention of live cluster munitions for training and research, despite not retaining any cluster munitions itself.[26]



[1]Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act 2008, no. 20 of 2008,” Houses of the Oireachtas. The law was enacted on 2 December 2008 and came into operation on 8 October 2009. It prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, possession, and transfer of cluster munitions and explosive bomblets, and contains other provisions to implement the convention, including an explicit prohibition on the investment of public money in cluster munition producers. Those guilty of offenses may be fined up to €1 million (US$1,393,500) and imprisoned for up to 10 years. Average exchange rate for 2009: €1=US$1.3935. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2010.

[2] All relevant Defence Forces training institutions were also required to include education on the provisions of the convention and the 2008 implementation law in their training. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 27 January 2011.

[3] The initial Article 7 report covers the period from 1 August to 31 December 2010, while the April 2012 report covers calendar year 2011, the April 2013 report is for calendar year 2012, the April 2014 report covers calendar year 2013, and the June 2015 report covers calendar year 2014.

[4] For more details on Ireland’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 92–97. It has come to light that the United States (US) engaged with Ireland significantly during the Oslo Process. In 2011, Wikileaks released several US Department of State reporting cables for the period from January 2007 to November 2008 that show how the US sought to influence Ireland’s engagement in the Oslo Process. One cable, dated 6 November 2008, stated, “During the May 19–30 Dublin Cluster Munitions Conference, the Irish played a key role in achieving consensus on a Cluster Munitions Convention that took into the account the concerns that critical ongoing and future peacekeeping collaboration and existing alliances not be disrupted, and that the convention be compatible with the Convention on Conventional Weapons.” See, “Scenesetter for visit of Codel Leahy to Ireland,” US Department of State cable 08DUBLIN609 dated 6 November 2008, released by Wikileaks on 26 August 2011.

[5] Speech by Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 4 March 2015.

[6] Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, September 2014.

[7] Ibid. Ireland made a similar statement previously at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2013. Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013.

[8] Statement of Ireland, Second Preparatory Meetings for the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 24 June 2015. Notes by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

[9] Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by NPA.

[10] Statement of Ireland, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 23 October 2014.

[11] Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, 3 September 2014.

[12] Statement of Ireland, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 8 October 2013; statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013; and statement of Ireland, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 16 October 2012.

[13] See, “The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/29/L.4, 2 July 2015; “The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/28/20, 27 March 2015; “The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/26/23, 27 June 2014; and “The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/25/23, 28 March 2014.

[14]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Ireland voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.

[15] Department of Foreign Affairs, “Note on the Measures Taken by Ireland to Implement Article 21 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 11 March 2009. For a discussion on Ireland’s treatment of interoperability, see HRW, “Staying True to the Ban on Cluster Munitions: Understanding the Prohibition on Assistance in the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” June 2009, pp. 14–16.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Email from Alison Kelly, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 27 July 2011.

[19]Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act 2008, no. 20 of 2008,” Houses of the Oireachtas; and IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” April 2010, pp. 102–103.

[20] For a commentary on the law’s provisions on disinvestment, see IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” April 2010, pp. 102–103. Concerns expressed in the report include that the exceptions contained in the law permitting the investment in derivative financial instruments based on a financial index could risk weakening the strength of the prohibition, and also the law’s lack of application beyond public money. They also called for transparency requirements and the establishment of criteria for determining which companies are involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions or their components.

[21] Deaglán De Bréadún, “Pension fund to remove money from bomb firms,” Irish Times, 17 March 2008; and IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” April 2010, pp. 79–80. Average exchange rate for 2008: €1=US$1.4726. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2010.

[22] IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” April 2010, p. 80. In their June 2012 update to the “Worldwide investments” report, IKV Pax Christi and FairFin (formerly Netwerk Vlaanderen) state that the companies on the National Pensions Reserve Fund’s exclusion list in its 2010 annual report were Aerostar, Alliant Techsystems, General Dynamics, Hanwha, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Poongsan, Raytheon, Singapore Technologies Engineering, and Textron. IKV Pax Christi and FairFin, “Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” June 2012, p. 92. See also, PAX, “Worldwide investment in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility, November 2014 update,” Utrecht, November 2014.

[23] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B, C, D, E, and J, 27 January 2011.

[24] Email from Alma Ní Choigligh, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 5 August 2011.

[25] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form C, April 2015; April 2014; 30 April 2013; 30 April 2012; and 27 January 2011.

[26] In 2010, Ireland stated that live cluster munitions are necessary for “the development of render safe procedures, training of personnel, and the calibration of detection equipment.” Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 11 November 2010. Notes by the CMC. In 2011, Ireland stated that live cluster munitions are necessary under the convention, including for “the calibration and testing of…mechanical clearance technologies and protective equipment for clearance personnel.” Statement of Ireland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

Ireland signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. Legislation to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically was enacted in 1996, with updated legislation passed in 2008.[1] The legislation prohibits investment in the production of anti-personnel mines, as well as assistance with acts prohibited by the treaty.

Ireland regularly attends meetings of the treaty, most recently the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it provided statements on cooperation and assistance and universalization. Ireland also attended the intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2019. Previously, Ireland attended the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. Ireland served on the Committee on Article 5 Implementation in 2015.

Ireland is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war. Ireland is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, use, transfer, and stockpiling

Ireland has never used, produced, or exported antipersonnel mines.

At the time of entry into force of the treaty, it did not possess a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, other than mines retained for permitted training purposes under Article 3. It has not been revealed when these mines were obtained or whether they were part of a larger stockpile destroyed earlier. Ireland initially retained 129 antipersonnel mines for training purposes; this number was reduced to 55 by the end of 2018.[2] At the 2012 intersessional meetings, Ireland affirmed that it has complied with the Cartagena Action Plan by “regularly review[ing] the number of anti-personnel mines retained, to ensure that they constitute the minimum number absolutely necessary…” Ireland stated that since it uses live antipersonnel mines in training, it will become necessary to acquire replacement mines for this purpose in the future.[3]



[1] Explosives (Landmine) Order of 12 June 1996, which is based on the Explosive Act of 1875. Also in 1996, an amendment was made to the Defense Force Tactical Doctrine prohibiting the use of antipersonnel landmines.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Form D, 2019.

[3] Statement of Ireland, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings, Geneva, 25 May 2012.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 11 December 2023

In 2022, Ireland contributed €3.5 million (US$3.6 million) in mine action funding to eight countries.[1] This represented a decrease of 3% from its contribution to mine action in 2021. Ireland’s support was allocated to clearance, risk education, and victim assistance activities implemented by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Contributions by recipient: 2022[2]

Recipient

Sector

Amount (€)

Amount (US$)

Cambodia

Clearance, risk education

600,000

632,040

Somalia

Clearance, risk education

600,000

632,040

Zimbabwe

Clearance, risk education, victim assistance

500,000

526,700

Lao PDR

Victim assistance

500,000

526,700

South Sudan

Clearance, risk education

400,000

421,360

Vietnam

Various

350,000

368,690

Afghanistan

Clearance, risk education, victim assistance

250,000

263,350

Colombia

Clearance, risk education

250,000

263,350

Total

 -

3,450,000

3,634,230

 

Mine action assistance approach

In Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy, support for demining activities is included under Policy Objective 3, on linking humanitarian and development approaches.[3] Ireland consistently emphasizes the links between mine action and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[4]

In April 2022, Ireland reported that its mine action program was under review, and that the results of the evaluation would inform its assistance for 2023 and beyond.[5]

Five-year support to mine action

In the five-year period from 2018–2022, Ireland’s contribution to mine action totaled more than €16.5 million ($18.8 million). In comparison, during the previous five-year period from 2013–2017, Ireland’s support to mine action amounted to €14.4 million ($17.4 million).

Summary of contributions: 2018–2022[6]

Year

Amount (€)

Amount (US$)

% change from previous year (US$)

2022

3,450,000

3,634,230

-3

2021

3,157,800

3,735,678

-2

2020

3,356,800

3,830,110

+4

2019

3,295,000

3,687,795

-5

2018

3,295,000

3,893,702

+114

Total

16,554,600

18,781,515

N/A

Note: N/A=not applicable.



[1] Average exchange rate for 2022: €1=US$1.0534. United States (US) Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 9 January 2023.

[2] Ireland Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), Form J. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[4] See, for example, statement of Ireland, Sixth Annual Pledging Conference for the Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 23 February 2021; and statement of Ireland, Mine Ban Treaty Eighteenth Meeting of States Parties, held virtually, 16–20 November 2020.

[5] Mine Action Support Group meeting, “Annex A: Donor Updates,” 27 April 2022.

 

[6] See previous Support for Mine Action country profiles. ICBL-CMC, “Country Profiles: Ireland,” undated.