Ireland adopted a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 for the period 2011- 2014 and undertook a comprehensive process in developing this plan. Preceding its development, a cross-learning initiative was undertaken involving participants from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Liberia and Timor-Leste. 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.
Ireland adopted a revised National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 for the period 2015- 2018 where it undertook a comprehensive process in developing this NAP. 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 monitoring and evaluation mechanisms from the first National Action Plan were used in the drafting of the second NAP through recommendations by the Monitoring Group on the NAP which is referred to as a “living document” indicating that changes were made continuously from various stakeholders.
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. 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.
From a recent academic analysis on the first NAP: 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)