Ireland launches bid for UN Security Council seat

Ireland is competing with Canada and Norway for one of two seats

Ireland launches bid for UN Security Council seat

The UN Security Council adopts a resolution on June 28th 2018 | Image: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney are in New York as Ireland officially launches its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

They are taking part in a series of events marking the campaign for a non-permanent seat on the council for the 2021-2022 term.

Ireland is competing with Canada and Norway for one of two seats available.

A two-thirds majority of 193 member states (or 129 votes) is needed for election to the UN Security Council. Each member state has one vote.

The bid is coinciding with the launch of Global Ireland 2025, the strategy to double the scale and impact of Ireland’s international presence.

Ireland goes forward for election to the Security Council at roughly 20 year intervals.

U2 played Madison Square Garden on Sunday night with 153 UN ambassadors in the audience.

Bono welcomed the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, and after making multiple references to the Good Friday Agreement he addressed one of the key Brexit issues.

He told the crowd: "We're very proud of our island of Ireland, they work very hard to protect our borderless island: are we up for a borderless island here?".

On Monday, the Taoiseach will participate in a ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Ireland's participation on UN peacekeeping operations, and pay tribute to the 88 members of the Defence Forces who lost their lives while on UN service.

Later, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste will officially launch Ireland's campaign at UN headquarters with a special event celebrating Irish food, music, heritage and culture.

The launch will be supported by former President Mary Robinson and Bono.

"The heart of UN decision-making"

Speaking ahead of the launch of the campaign, Mr Varadkar said: "Ireland’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council is central to our international agenda, and is driven by our belief that we are far stronger acting together than we are acting alone.

"During more than six decades of UN membership, Ireland has played a leading role as a small member state that is vocal, active and courageously committed to peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, disarmament, sustainable development, personal freedom, free trade, democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

"Winning a seat on the UN Security Council would place Ireland at the heart of UN decision-making on international peace, security and development.

"It would also continue Ireland’s proud tradition of international engagement dating back to our admission to the UN in 1955."

Mr Varadkar added: "We will have a tough campaign on our hands over the next two years and we certainly don’t underestimate our competition, but I am confident that by putting our full support behind the campaign and by emphasising Ireland’s unique strengths and track record, we can succeed."

Mr Coveney said: "We are looking to serve on the UN Security Council over 2021-22 because we believe in a strong UN and we want to be at the centre of it, advocating for our core values.

"We have unique perspectives to bring based on our experiences in areas like peacekeeping, conflict resolution and international development.

"And ‘Global Ireland’ is about more than just advancing our prosperity - it is also about promoting our values and making this a safer, more secure and more sustainable world.

"We are a country that I think a lot of other countries in the world can relate to: our story, our history is one of conflict, of a struggle for independence, of famine".

Mr Varadkar will conclude his visit on Tuesday morning by meeting a group of business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland at the New York Stock Exchange.

Ireland has been elected to the Security Council on three previous occasions for 1961 (half-term), 1981-82 and 2001-2002.

Additional reporting: Sean Defoe in New York