Coveney confirms Ireland's application for seat on UN Security Council

The Foreign Affairs Minister pledged Ireland's support for measures reforming the UN

Coveney confirms Ireland's application for seat on UN Security Council

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, 18-05-2017. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Ireland will apply for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Addressing the UN General Assembly yesterday afternoon, Minister Coveney highlighted the need for countries to work together to overcome adversity – and pledged Ireland’s support for reform efforts aiming to make the UN “more effective and representative.”

Taking aim at the current make-up of the UN Security Council – which has five permanent members and ten non-permanent members each elected for a two-year term – Minister Coveney warned that UN political institutions must better reflect today’s world.

“Nowhere is this more evident than with regard to the composition of the Security Council,” he said.

“The Security Council does not reflect the world that has evolved since the UN was established in 1945. 

“Quite plainly, we would be hard pressed to find any entity – in the public or private sectors – that remains so untouched by the changes and realities in the world around it.”

He warned that vast areas of the planet are “either insufficiently represented or not represented at all.”

“The need to increase the size of the Council is clear to see,” he said.

“Ireland sees the obvious need for much stronger African representation on the Council so that there can be a greater African say in Council decisions affecting their continent. 

“We would also favour consideration of a designated seat for Small Island Developing States.”

Veto system

He said that as long as the veto system remains in place the work of the UN will continue to be impeded by vested interests - adding that the failure of the Security Council to take action preventing mass atrocities in Syria and elsewhere has weakened its credibility.

He said Ireland had put itself forward for membership in 2020 “because we believe deeply that we should step forward and play our part in support of multilateralism at this time of significant global instability.”

“We have something to say and we will listen to you when you speak,” he said.

“We will be courageous on behalf of the UN and our fellow peoples.  With Ireland, you know what you get – a small State with big thinking, a country that listens, and a strong independent voice that promotes the values that inspire this organisation.

The minister also highlighted Ireland’s UN contribution in the fields of peacekeeping, sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, disarmament and human rights.

“No part of our contribution to the UN resonates more with the Irish people than our UN peacekeepers,” he said.

“The thousands of men and women who have served under blue helmets represent Ireland, our people and our values. 

“Since 1958, when Irish troops first began serving the UN, not a day has passed without Irish participation in the UN’s peace support operations,” he said.

“We believe we make a difference”

Condemning the recent series of missile and nuclear weapons testing by North Korea, Minister Coveney warned that the case for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons has never been stronger.