Another powerful contribution Ireland has made to the world is our leadership on disarmament. We were the first country to sign the nuclear non- proliferation treaty and I was proud to be there in person when Ireland negotiated the global ban on cluster munitions. When we see rightful condemnation of the recent use of cluster munitions, it is important to remember that before Ireland negotiated the global ban on cluster munitions these brutal and indiscriminate weapons were commonplace and used widely. Our neutrality was crucial to achieving that ban.
As I said at today’s launch “That is the power of a neutral nation, championing disarmament, leading against nuclear proliferation, leading against the use of atrocious weapons which target and affect civilians. That’s what Ireland’s voice has been in the world.”
Another reason Ireland has had a strong impact as a small nation in the world has been our reputation as a voice for peace and our understanding that peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is something that takes years of work, takes the building of trust, it takes trusted actors to act in a neutral way to support that process.
For Ireland to contribute and be a force for good in Europe and the wider world, on human rights, international law, peace, disarmament or humanitarian support, our neutrality is key. It’s what gives us credibility and strength.
For information on the Irish Neutrality League and to read or sign the shared statement see www.neutrality.ie