Ireland adopted a revised National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 for the period 2015- 2018. A Consultative Group consisting of statutory bodies, civil society and academic experts created inputs into the consultation process and prepared a Consultation Document which was reviewed by 37 relevant stakeholders through written submissions on how Ireland should renew the NAP. The recommendations of the Monitoring Group of the first NAP (2011-2014), which is referred to as a “living document”, were taken into account when drafting of the recent NAP. In the drafting of the first NAP, Ireland undertook a comprehensive process in developing this plan. Preceding its development, a cross-learning initiative was commenced involving participants from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Liberia and Timor-Leste. The Irish National Action Plan aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues outlined in UNSCR 1325, allowing the goals of the resolution to be better carried out. Ireland consulted with women affected by conflict living in conflict and non-conflict settings to better understand the issue. There is a specific interest in “SMART” indicators used to monitor the commitments and actions specified in the NAP. There is also a lot of emphasis on cross-consultation and the sharing of lessons learned between countries and regions (Miller, Pournik, & Swaine, 2014).
Ireland has a history of ethno-political conflict, lasting from the late 1960’s and ending with the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Sporadic intensity conflict has persisted beyond the signing of the agreement, instigated by break-away dissident groups opposed to the peace process. Women’s peace activists and organizations have been integral to grassroots peace-building in Ireland and Northern Ireland, forming coalitions across ethno-political divides and taking a reconciliation and mediation approach to opposing groups within the conflict and localizing the peace agreement at the community level. Women have also been innovative in ensuring that their voices were heard during the peace processes. When faced with exclusion from the peace process, which would only include leaders from the top ten political parties, peace activists Monica McWilliams and May Blood formed the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and gained a place at the negotiating table.
While Ireland participates on international and regional bodies advocating for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, there are currently no legislative or constitutional protections to guarantee the political representation of women. Women represent only 15 per cent of elected officials in the lower house and 22 per cent in the upper house. Women may serve in the military without restriction, however, they represent less than 6 per cent of serving personnel and representation declines with seniority. As a result, a low proportion of women are deployed to peacekeeping operations.