Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (66)

Niall Collins


66. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of Ireland’s efforts to win a seat at the UN Security Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37463/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The expected date of the election for the two available seats in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) for the UN Security Council term 2021-2022 is approximately nine months away.

The campaign is a priority across the whole of Government. The UN is central to Ireland’s foreign policy. Our effort to secure a seat, which was announced in 2005, reflects this. I am particularly conscious that we are seeking a seat on the Council at a time when multilateralism is being undermined. It is my strong belief that, in these circumstances, it is important that Ireland should demonstrate its willingness to participate in the work of multilateral institutions. I know this view is widely shared in the Oireachtas.

All appropriate regional, multilateral and bilateral engagements are being utilised by An Taoiseach; me, as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ministers across Government and by Ministers of State, to promote and discuss Ireland’s candidature. Officials at my Department are also fully engaged in the effort to ensure success. Ireland last served on the Council from 2001-2002.

In making our case to the 192 other Members States of the UN, we are highlighting our consistent record at the UN throughout more than six decades of active membership. We have a strong record at the UN in the areas of peacekeeping, sustainable development, humanitarian action, disarmament and human rights.

The case for our candidature echoes our policy interests, our values and our history of positive engagement at the global level. We are committed to the principles and values of the UN Charter which have stood the test of time for 74 years and we will demonstrate this commitment if we are elected to the Council.

The contest for the two seats is very competitive. Our opponents, Canada and Norway, are strong members of the UN and important bilateral partners. We enjoy excellent relations with both and cooperate on many issues at the UN and beyond. Indeed, my Norwegian counterpart visited Ireland just last month and I had the opportunity to meet with her to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest.

Later this month I will travel to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly with the President, and the Taoiseach. The UN is organising five Summits in as many days, addressing Climate, Financing for Development, Health, Small Island Developing States and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to participating in the Summits, we will take the opportunity to raise the profile of our Security Council candidature with Member States. We aim to meet senior representatives of a wide range of States to press our case and seek their support at the election which is expected to take place in June 2020. In addition to those bilateral meetings, the President, Taoiseach and I will participate in events that showcase Ireland's principled and consistent foreign policy on issues such as the Middle East Peace Process, disarmament and the importance of multilateralism. Our programmes will, of course, include a number of events with important bilateral and Irish community dimensions.