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Irish depleted uranium ban bill up for consideration in early 2010

A bill that would ban the use of uranium weapons and armour in Ireland will be discussed early in 2010. Similar bills are under discussion in Costa Rica and New Zealand following Belgium’s decision to ban the weapons in June 2009.
16 December 2009 - ICBUW

The Private Members Bill entitled Prohibition of Depleted Uranium Weapons was submitted in the Seanad Éireann, the Irish parliament’s upper house by Green Senators Dan Boyle and Deirdre de Burca and Independent Fiona O'Malley. The bill is currently in its first stage and faces four more stages where it will face additional scrutiny and potential amendments. It is due to be debated in more depth early in 2010.

Senator Dan Boyle
Senator Dan Boyle

In common with other DU legislation, the bill would make it illegal to test, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, sell, deploy, retain or transfer, directly or indirectly, uranium ammunition, uranium armour-plate or other uranium weapons to anyone. The text would also make it illegal to acquire or dispose of the pre-products necessary for the manufacture of uranium weapons.

Joe Murray of the Irish peace and human rights organisation AFRI said: "AFRI warmly welcomes this initiative that has been taken by Senator Boyle and we hope that this will be the beginning of a process that will lead to the enactment of a bill in the Irish Parliament that will ban the manufacture, use and stockpiling of uranium weapons. Ireland should do whatever it can to lead the world on this issue and should be happy to be competing with Costa Rica and New Zealand to become the next country in the world to ban these indiscriminate weapons."

News of the draft bill was also welcomed by fellow countryman Denis Halliday who served as the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from September 1997, until 1998. Halliday resigned in protest over the humanitarian impact of the UN sanctions regime and has long spoken out against the impact of depleted uranium munitions.

Definitions
During examination of the Belgian draft ban text in 2007, concerns were raised among parliamentarians that a general prohibition on any weapon with depleted uranium in would also cover US nuclear bombs stored on Belgian soil. This led to the introduction of the phrase ‘inert munitions containing depleted uranium...’ The Irish text presents the clearest and most wide-ranging definition yet seen on what constitutes a conventional uranium weapon, whilst excluding nuclear weapons:

“Uranium weapon” means a mechanism which serves to destroy or damage objects and uses uranium in its mode of action. Excluded from this definition are weapons that incorporate uranium and whose primary tactical purpose in this incorporation is the production, flux, or enhancement, of nuclear fission or fusion.

ICBUW believes that the inclusion of the above text would help to ‘future-proof’ any eventual legislation against the development of new conventional uranium weapons. As with the other states where uranium weapon bills are currently under consideration, Ireland is not a user of uranium weapons, nevertheless the successful passage of a ban would send out an important message internationally.

Notes:

http://www.afri.ie

Attachments

  • Prohibition of Depleted Uranium Weapons (Ireland) Bill

    35 Kb - Format pdf
    Senators Dan Boyle, Deirdre de Burca and Fiona O'Malley - Source: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2009/4809/b48a09s.pdf
    Irish Private Members Bill that would make it illegal to test, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, sell, deploy, retain or transfer, directly or indirectly, uranium ammunition, uranium armour-plate or other uranium weapons.