Legal Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Within the Department’s Legal Division, I work mainly on matters of EU law, the UN, terrorism and sanctions. 2015 was another busy year. Input was required on the swift negotiation and conclusion of an Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, as well as on a number of new agreements being entered into between the EU and its Member States, and third countries including Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community.
We also gave attention to proposals by the UK to introduce certain reforms in EU law in advance of its referendum on EU membership in 2016. By way of hoping for the best but preparing for all possible outcomes, I participated in a number of conferences that discussed the potential implications of a UK withdrawal from the EU.
Over 140 legal acts were adopted across thirty EU sanctions regimes, in 2015. I attended regular meetings on these at the Cross Departmental Sanctions Committee, as well as the Relex Sanctions Group in Brussels. In October and November I represented Ireland at the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York and delivered statements on the work of the International Law Commission and on topics such as the immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction and the provisional application of treaties.
As in all years, the variety of Legal Division’s work in 2015 kept us ever-learning, always interested, and mostly on our toes!