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Country Reports
Ireland , Landmine Monitor Report 2004


Key developments since May 2003: In 2003, Ireland provided mine action funding of €1,995,000 ($2.3 million), an increase from 2002.

Key developments since 1999: Ireland became a State Party in March 1999. Ireland has taken national measures to implement the treaty, but has not adopted penal sanctions for treaty violations in military operations. From 1999 to 2003, Ireland provided about $8.5 million in mine action funding; this included about $2.1 million in funding for mine victim assistance.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Ireland signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. Ireland was the second country in the world to ratify the treaty, after Canada. As early as 1994, Ireland supported the movement for a comprehensive antipersonnel mine ban. It became one of the core group of countries promoting the ban, and played an important role in the preparatory meetings of the Ottawa Process, and in drafting and negotiating the treaty. The government worked in cooperation with the Irish Campaign to Ban Landmines, and hosted the first meeting of Landmine Monitor researchers in September 1998.

National implementation was achieved by the Explosives (Landmine) Order of 12 June 1996, which is based on the Explosives Act of 1875. Also in 1996, an amendment was made to the Defense Force Tactical Doctrine prohibiting the use of antipersonnel landmines. There are no legally-based punitive measures if a violation of the treaty occurs in military operations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated since 1999 that it will address this deficiency; no progress had been reported as of June 2004.[1]

Ireland has participated in all of the annual Meetings of States Parties and most of the intersessional meetings, including the Standing Committee meetings in February and June 2004.

Ireland submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report in April 2004. This does not include voluntary Form J, which Ireland has used in previous Article 7 reports to detail mine action funding. Five previous Article 7 Reports have been submitted.[2]

In December 2003, Ireland voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 58/53 in support of the Mine Ban Treaty. It has voted for similar General Assembly resolutions since 1996.

During the first half of 2004, Ireland held the Presidency of the European Union. It has not been reported what diplomatic efforts, if any, were made by Ireland during this period regarding universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Ireland has not in recent years engaged in the extensive discussions that States Parties have had on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2, and 3, and the issues related to joint military operations with non-States Parties, antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices, and the permissible number of mines retained for training. With respect to Article 2, Ireland has stated its view that the Mine Ban Treaty prohibits antivehicle mines with antihandling devices which may explode from the unintentional act of a person and therefore function like an antipersonnel mine. At the Standing Committee meetings in January 2000, Ireland’s delegation proposed the setting up of an informal group to study this issue.[3]

Ireland is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and Amended Protocol II. It attended the Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties to the Protocol in November 2003 and submitted its annual report under Article 13 on 1 October 2003. Ireland has attended annual conferences of States Parties to the Protocol and submitted Article 13 reports in previous years. Ireland supported CCW proposals on mines other than antipersonnel mines and on explosive remnants of war. In April 2003, it co-hosted an international conference on explosive remnants of war.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Ireland has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.[4] 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’s April 2004 Article 7 report records that at the end of 2003, Ireland retained 103 antipersonnel mines, and that 13 antipersonnel mines had been consumed during training activities in 2003.[5] At entry into force, Ireland retained 129 EXPAL antipersonnel mines of Spanish manufacture.[6] Previous Article 7 reports do not fully report mines consumed in previous years, but it appears that three mines were consumed in 1999-2000, two mines in 2001, and nine mines in 2002.

Mine Action Funding[7]

Landmine Monitor calculates that, in 2003, Ireland provided mine action funds totaling €1,995,000 ($2,257,343),[8] including €1,435,000 from the emergency and rehabilitation assistance program, €550,000 from Ireland Aid (the development cooperation division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and €10,000 for the Implementation Support Unit sponsorship program. This represents an increase from €1,666,500 in 2002, and is similar to 2001 (€2,243,204). Funding provided through the emergency and rehabilitation assistance program consisted of:

  • Afghanistan, Angola, Eritrea, Somalia – €1,000,000 ($1,131,500) to the HALO Trust for demining
  • Cambodia – €385,000 ($435,628) to Handicap International for mine victim assistance
  • Pax Christi – €50,000 ($56,575) for the Conference on Explosive Remnants of War, in Dublin, April 2003.

Funding from Ireland Aid consisted of:

  • Mozambique – €550,000 ($622,235) for demining in Inhambane and Niassa provinces.

Ireland reports that it has spent almost €6 million on mine clearance and rehabilitation projects since 2000.[9] The Landmine Monitor records Ireland’s contributions from 1999-2003 as totaling about $8.5 million (1999: $1.5 million; 2000: $1.1 million; 2001: $2 million; 2002: $1.6 million; 2003: $2.3 million).[10] Approximately $2.1 million of this was for victim assistance projects (1999: $376,000, 2000: $618,415, 2001: $454,674, 2002: $253,000, 2003: $435,628).

Ireland’s funding policy prioritizes projects which facilitate “the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance in terms of disaster relief and recovery in the field,” and takes account of whether countries are members of the Mine Ban Treaty. Mine action funding has been provided since 1994.[11] Ireland’s main partner for mine clearance is the HALO Trust, with which Ireland has recently entered into “more strategic long term support ... [by] annual block grants for four countries.”[12] For 2004, Ireland allocated $1.5 million to the HALO Trust.

[1] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 665.
[2] See Article 7 reports submitted: April 2004 (for calendar year 2003) – this report and its website listing by the UN is undated; 25 June 2003 (for calendar year 2003); 2 May 2002 (for calendar year 2001); 18 June 2001 (for the period 14 April 2000–27 April 2001); 14 April 2000 (for the period 16 August 1999–14 April 2000); 16 August 1999 (for the period 3 December 1997–16 August 1999).
[3] Statement by Darach MacFhionnbhairr, Head of Disarmament and Non-proliferation, Geneva, 10–11 January 2000.
[4] Article 7 Report, Forms E, F and G, 16 August 1999. Regarding non-use of mines in the Irish conflict, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 630, and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 666.
[5] Article 7 Report, Forms D and G, April 2004.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form D, 16 August 1999. In later reports, the retained mines are designated 5BB33.
[7] Unless otherwise indicated, the source of information in this section is: email from Tony D’Costa, Pax Christi, 8 May 2004.
[8] Exchange rate for 2003 of €1 = $1.1315, used throughout this report. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2004.
[9] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form G, 1 October 2003.
[10] Data from previous editions of the Landmine Monitor Report, taking US$ amounts at exchange rates used for each year. Ireland’s funding has not been recorded by the Mine Action Investments database since 2001. See www.mineaction.org , accessed on 17 June 2004.
[11] Article 7 Report, Form J, 2 May 2002; CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Annex I, 6 December 2001.
[12] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form G, 1 October 2003.