The UN Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights opened for signature by UN Member States in New York in September 2009. To date, forty-two States have signed; this includes eleven of the twenty-seven European Union member States. Ten UN Member States have ratified the Optional Protocol: Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Uruguay. The Optional Protocol came into force on 5 May 2013, three months after the deposit with the United Nations Secretary General of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession Ireland’s signature of the Optional Protocol took place on 23 March 2012. Ratification of the Optional Protocol is a separate step and is preceded by a thorough screening of the obligations to be assumed. This will require extensive consultation with all Departments involved and consideration by the Government in due course.