Achieving a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons is a long-standing priority for Ireland. Motivated by the immense human suffering which would arise from the detonation of a nuclear weapon, whether by accident, miscalculation or design, we are working for the complete elimination of these weapons.
The main international agreement in this field is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The origins of the NPT are closely connected with Ireland; in 1958 we introduced the first of what became known as the ‘'Irish Resolutions’’ at the UN General Assembly, which eventually led to the NPT. In recognition of this pioneering role, Ireland was the first country invited to sign the NPT in 1968. The treaty entered into force in 1970 and has 190 States parties.
Almost half a century later, the NPT remains at the heart of international efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. It contains the only multilateral legal obligation on nuclear disarmament and is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Ireland remains an active and committed member of the NPT and is working with others to achieve progress on nuclear disarmament as well as on the Treaty’s goals of non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
The NPT has been successful in preventing the wholesale proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, concerned that the slow pace of implementing the Treaty's nuclear disarmament obligations might undermine the Treaty, Ireland was active in forming the New Agenda Coalition, a cross-regional group of States committed to promoting progress on nuclear disarmament.
The NAC was launched in Dublin in 1998 with a Joint Ministerial Declaration resolving to promote the objective of complete nuclear disarmament. The six members of the coalition - Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa - remain committed to this key objective. Ireland has served as coordinator of the NAC on numerous occasions, most recently during the first six months of 2014.
Ireland played an active part in the Open Ended Working Group in Geneva established by the UN General Assembly to develop proposals for multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. We are also part of a group of countries seeking to highlight the humanitarian implications of nuclear weapons as a means to increase pressure for more progress on nuclear disarmament.