Remarks by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., at the launch of Ireland’s UN Security Council campaign in New York
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Ireland has placed huge value on the UN since we joined as a young Republic which had fought hard for its own independence.
In taking our place among the nations of the world, we realised that multilateralism gives expression to sovereignty rather than diminishing it. Over 60 years later, this realisation remains at the centre of our approach to the UN.
We Irish are by nature bridge-builders. We listen to all sides and work to build collective solutions to our global challenges. We have shown this in securing agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs in 2015, in our facilitation of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, and in our on-going role as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women.
We have been a strong and consistent champion at the UN for disarmament and the need to restrict the use of nuclear weapons. The common thread through these processes is Ireland’s commitment to hearing and heeding the voices of all, to forge consensus and common purpose. Our voices become one.
Taking a place on the Security Council will amplify our collective voice on matters of vital importance, including international peace, security and development.
As Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister or Tánaiste, and our Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I have met many of you serving as Ambassadors and diplomats here at the UN, representing your countries at this greatest of global institutions. I have heard your passion for sustainable development, for ending conflict and hunger, and for securing a future based on equality and parity of esteem among nations and peoples. And I can assure you that Ireland is beholden to nobody, to no organisation, which could ever inhibit us working night and day towards those goals.
In seeking your support in 2020, Ireland is driven to meet our responsibilities as a member of the UN. But we also want our campaign to strengthen the awareness of Ireland – who we are and what we stand for – among the international community.
We stand for the centrality of multilateralism to international relations, and the importance of a rules based system of laws and responsibilities.
We stand for sustaining peace and protecting the most vulnerable globally.
We stand for sustainable development, disarmament, humanitarian assistance, the realisation of human rights for all, and the empowerment of women and girls.
If Ireland were to be elected to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council our fundamental approach to any agenda item would be to advocate for these core values of our foreign policy. They are values which we have shown a commitment to since joining the UN, a commitment which will remain constant in the years to come.
Our path is our own. We bring no partisan agenda to the table. We are here to serve the wider good and to support the UN and the multilateral system. And we will be courageous when the UN, and all of you, need courage from your Security Council. Empathy, partnership and independence will be our guiding stars.
With Ireland, you know what you get – a small country with big thinking, a country that listens, and a strong independent voice that promotes the values that should inspire this organisation in the future.
The Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, W.B. Yeats, encouraged us to: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends. And say my glory was I had such friends.” Ireland is honoured to have many such friends here tonight. And we hope and believe we will do you proud, should you give us the opportunity we seek.