As I stated in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 108 of 11 June 2013 to which the Deputy refers, the Government wish to see the rapid entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, ATT, which will take place ninety days following ratification by the fiftieth State. Some of the provisions of the Treaty concern matters that fall within the exclusive competence of the European Union, as they come under the scope of the Common Commercial Policy or affect the rules of the Internal Market. As a result, a Decision authorising member States to ratify must be adopted by the Council before Ireland and its EU partners can proceed to ratification.
A proposal to the Council recommending the adoption of a draft Council Decision is awaited from the European Commission in this regard. The Commission will set out its assessment of the legal position, including whether any European legal instruments need to be amended in order to comply with the terms of the Treaty. Any changes in European legislation identified by the Commission may require corresponding changes in domestic legislation transposing the relevant European laws. This would be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, whose Department operates Ireland’s national licensing unit.
At the national level, I have instructed officials in my Department to begin preparations to ensure that the necessary steps are taken in good time to allow for early ratification. We are considering what measures, if any, must be taken so that the State will be in a position to meet the obligations it will assume under the Treaty as soon as it enters into force. This involves an examination of the provisions of the Treaty to establish whether legislative, administrative and-or policy measures are required to implement them. Contacts are ongoing between my Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in this regard. Early ratification by the 28 EU member States, including Ireland, would advance matters considerably toward the ATT becoming a reality on the ground and starting to save lives. I therefore hope that the necessary steps can be taken quickly.