Practice Relating to Nuclear Weapons
Ireland’s Nuclear Test Ban Act (2008) states:
(1) A person who carries out, or causes the carrying out of, a nuclear explosion in the State shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) An Irish citizen who carries out, or causes the carrying out of, a nuclear explosion outside the State shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) A person who—
(a) attempts, or
(b) conspires with, or incites, a person,
to commit an offence under subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on conviction on indictment, to—
(a) a fine, or
(b) imprisonment for life or such lesser term as the court may determine, or both.
(5) In this section “nuclear explosion” includes a nuclear weapon test explosion.
In 1996, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Ireland stated:
We would have preferred that the draft resolution set down as its principal operative conclusion a firm call on the international community to consider further the fundamental and challenging questions that the advisory opinion poses. The particular means of pursuing negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons contained in operative paragraph 4 of the draft resolution are not the sole possible means of pursuing this end, and the vote has shown that they do not command the agreement of all delegations. We have voted in favour of the draft resolution to underline our view that the present moment, in the wake of the Court’s opinion, offers a particular opportunity for a new signal of resolve to pursue the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and to emphasize our firm intention to support all efforts in good faith to that end.
In 2008, in a written response to a question on nuclear disarmament, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated:
From Ireland’s national standpoint, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) remains the corner-stone of the non-proliferation regime. It is the main international mechanism for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons, and contains the only multilateral obligation to nuclear disarmament in the text of a treaty by the five recognised nuclear weapons States (US, UK, France, the Russian Federation and China).
At the Seventh Review Conference in May 2005, there were fundamental differences between those who wanted the conference to focus on proliferation, and those – the majority – who emphasised the lack of serious nuclear disarmament by the nuclear weapons States. The failure of the 2005 Review Conference to reach an outcome makes it more important than ever to have a successful Conference in 2010, and Ireland will work hard to bring this about.