Ireland signs convention banning cluster bombs


Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today signed a convention banning the use of cluster munitions on behalf of Ireland at a ratification ceremony in Oslo.

Mr Ahern said that Ireland, in common with 107 other countries, was pledging an end to cluster munitions and their use. The manufacture and deployment of such munitions was wrong and had to end, he added.

“These bombs, often designed to look like toys or decorations, have maimed and killed thousands of children and adults around the world. Long after wars and conflicts have ended, their deployment provide a legacy of ongoing death and destruction,” he said.

“The signing of this convention by 107 countries is a major international move against their manufacture and critically their usage.”

Mr Ahern said he was proud of the vital role Ireland had played in securing agreement to ban the munitions at a diplomatic conference in Dublin last May.

“We have concluded a convention which bans immediately all cluster munitions which have caused harm to civilians in the past. It will only enter into force six months after ratification by 30 states. That must be our first target,” he said.

Fine Gael's spokesman on foreign affairs, Billy Timmins, said he hoped those countries that did not sign the convention would be stigamtised into not using the devices.

"With the passing of time hopefully these states will sign the convention and we will see the end of cluster munitions forever,” he said.

Amnesty International Ireland today welcomed the signing of the convention. Executive director Colm O’Gorman said it was the “culmination of two weeks of intense negotiations under Ireland’s commendable leadership" at Croke Park in May.

“To get to this day, Norway led the process and many other countries were involved. But Ireland brokered the final deal. It is an achievement of which we can be rightly proud,” he said.

“While many States signed today, only Ireland and Norway ratified. For the treaty to become legally binding, it must be ratified by 30 countries, so we need other states to follow positive example set by Ireland and Norway,” he added.