As the Deputy may remember, the 9/11 attacks occurred during that period. I remember it very clearly because Ireland had quite an influential position in advocating for the protection of civilians and a human rights approach post-9/11 when the war on terrorism began in Aghanistan. Ireland chaired the UN Security Council at the time, which was a very pivotal position for a small country such as Ireland to hold. That we did so skilfully at such a tense time globally shows the quality of the Civil Service. We want to be a member of the Security Council again because Ireland has shown itself to have the capacity to influence decisions in a positive and peaceful way as a small country.
We are seeking election to a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-22 term. We are one of three candidates for the two available seats in the western Europe and others regional group. The other two candidates are Canada and Norway which, like Ireland, have strong records of engagement at UN level and which will provide stiff competition. In order to be elected to the UN Security Council, Ireland must obtain the support of two thirds of the membership of the United Nations General Assembly or approximately 129 votes of the 193 member states at the election in June 2020. Our candidature was first announced in 2005 and the campaign has since been building under successive Governments.
I take every opportunity to raise our candidature with representatives of member states and press the value of Ireland playing our role on the Security Council. The President met several member state representatives during his visit to the United Nations last month. The Taoiseach, in his address to the Brookings Institute in Washington in March, outlined the importance of an effective multilateral system to Ireland and small countries in general. With my Cabinet colleagues, I will continue to make Ireland’s case in the period ahead. This political engagement is underpinned by my Department’s diplomatic personnel and we will launch our campaign in the coming weeks. In making Ireland’s case to the electorate we will highlight our consistent record at the United Nations over more than six decades of membership across a number of areas, including peacekeeping, sustainable development, humanitarian action, disarmament and human rights. If Ireland were to be elected to a non-permanent seat at the Security Council, our fundamental approach to any agenda item would be to advocate for the core values of our foreign policy, namely, peace and security, justice, equality and sustainability.