On Sunday, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Simon Coveney of Ireland were in New York to formally launch their campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council as a temporary member state from 2021-2022.
The competition Ireland faces, however, is tough, given that Norway and Canada are also seeking a seat on the council to help make key decisions in regards to matters of world peace, the maintaining of democratic values, as well as basic human rights for all.
Ireland bids for UN Security Council seat https://t.co/6BwquU3TgW— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 2, 2018
Tánaiste Coveney opened up with remarks asserting Ireland’s commitment to world peace, security, and stability.
“Ireland is absolutely committed to multilateral structures at the UN and obviously the EU, and key decisions on world peace, security, and conflict resolution, setting missions for peacekeepers around the world.
“Ireland has been there [on the security council] before and we intend on being there again. We were there in 1961, 1981, 2001, and now we want to be there in 2021. I think that we have a very strong story to tell; we are a country that I think, a lot of other countries in the world can relate to.”
The Tánaiste went on to say that Ireland’s story is one of conflict, a struggle for independence, of famine, of mass migration, and so on, which many other countries can see their own parallels to. Coveney believes that Ireland joining the UN Security Council would provide other countries with a platform to voice their concerns about global affairs.
“This campaign for us is built around three themes: the first one is empathy and I think a lot of countries and politicians can see their own story in Ireland’s story in many ways and I think that this will be apart of our conversation in terms of asking for support so that we can represent other countries and that they can feel they can talk to us and know that we will listen to their concerns.”
Another one of the main themes of the Irish campaign is that of partnership, and the Tanaiste noted that Ireland’s work in the larger world is that of strengthening ties and facilitating cooperation.
“Ireland is a country where everything we do outside of our borders is about building alliances and partnerships, whether it’s through our diaspora or whether it’s through an expanding global footprint through partnerships right across Africa, where we spend around €700 million ($812 million) a year of taxpayers money predominantly on the continent of Africa, or whether it’s through the middle east peace process where we are working really hard at the moment to ensure that Ireland is relevant to the decisions being made there.”
Lastly, Coveney affirmed that Ireland will remain committed to upholding democratic values, regardless of its role in the UN, but felt that a role in the Security Council would help the country to protect all people who are downtrodden and need assistance throughout the world.
The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, echoed similar sentiments, noting that, “We’re doing it because we’re part of this world and Ireland believes in a world order that’s about multilateralism, that’s about free trade and free enterprise, that’s about human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and is very much about working together with international organizations to solve the world’s problems, many of which are greater than any one nation-state could possibly do on their own.
“That world order is being rolled back or threatened in some parts of the world and we want to be apart of defending it. Ireland has a role to play at being at the top table at the United Nations and the Security Council, where the really important decisions are made.”
The Taoiseach also brought up the fact that around 45,000 Irish men and women have served overseas in peacekeeping operations, hence the country would like to be a member of the council to help make the decisions on where to deploy UN missions.
Since the first Irish troops were deployed on UN peacekeeping operations in 1958, not a single day has passed without Irish participation in UN peace support operations. Today we honour their service. #NewYork #UnitedNations #IrelandUNSC #GlobalIreland pic.twitter.com/lC64WL3RJY— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) July 2, 2018
As for the cost of the campaign, Varadkar insisted that it would not be too substantial due to the fact it would be apart of the work that is already being done wherein ministers travel to Brussels to advocate for Ireland or participate in UN-led global efforts at securing peace and ensuring world stability.
The Tánaiste highlighted, lastly, that Ireland is a unique candidate because of its extensive presence in the world.
“We’re a country that probably looks outwards more than any other country in the world and we have one of the most open economies in the planet right now. We have a diaspora that calls themselves Irish or has some Irish connection, close on 70 million people. Irish people care about what happens in other parts of the world that are deeply torn apart by conflict… Irish NGOs are really active in that space and expect their government to be active too.”
Ireland has been a member of the UN Security Council in the past, having occupied a non-permanent role in 1961, 1981, and 2001.