Ireland signs ground-breaking Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
News20 September 2017
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., on behalf of Ireland signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, during a ceremony at the United Nations in New York.
Minister Coveney congratulated all of the participating States and civil society partners on this achievement, noting that
“Ireland is proud to have played a leadership role, together with Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa, in negotiating this ground-breaking treaty, which represents the successful outcome of the first multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations in over 20 years.”
Nuclear disarmament has been a priority for Ireland from the outset of our membership of the United Nations. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Ireland has long been associated with, always envisaged a separate legal instrument to give effect to its disarmament provisions. The content of the new Treaty is ground-breaking, due to its core provisions which effectively prohibit nuclear weapons, and also due to its deep commitment to humanitarianism, to disarmament education, and its recognition of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings (who are known as the Hibakusha), and the importance of the full and effective participation of women in the future work of the Treaty.
Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Minister Coveney noted:
“the Government of Ireland will move swiftly to ratify the Treaty and we urge other States to do likewise. We have a deep sense of the risks and catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons; risks and consequences which, considering the current security environment in the DPRK, remain at the forefront of our minds and serve to heighten our ambition to prohibit these weapons.”
Minister Coveney also noted:
“I am happy that today, finally, the international community is taking this important step in implementing the NPT’s disarmament commitments - there is no place for weapons of mass destruction in the 21st Century.”
Notes for Editors
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) today opened for signature at the United Nations in New York. The Treaty text was adopted by 122 States at the United Nations on 7 July 2017, representing the successful outcome of many years of work by committed States and Civil Society partners who have been concerned at the slow pace of multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts, including the lack of progress on commitments undertaken in the context of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
In line with long-standing foreign policy, Ireland took a lead role the process that led to the adoption of the TPNW. Ireland was a member of a Core Group of states, with Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa, who brought forward the Resolution giving the UN conference its mandate. This resolution, Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, Leading Towards their Total Elimination, was adopted at the UN General Assembly in October 2016 by 123 states.