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Flanagan Highlights Ireland’s contribution to the UN on the 60th Anniversary of Ireland's Membership



Monday, 14 December marks sixty years since Ireland joined the United Nations. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, has today (Monday) spoken of Ireland’s contribution to the United Nations over the past sixty years.

Minister Flanagan said:

"It was 60 years ago today that the government of Taoiseach John A. Costello received a telegram from New York announcing that Ireland had been accepted to join the United Nations, the end of a nine-year wait for membership. Our membership of the UN has been a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy in the years since and our commitment to the United Nations remains as steadfast now as it was 60 years ago.

“We can all be very proud of the positive contribution Ireland has made to the United Nations in areas such as peacekeeping, disarmament, development and human rights.

"Since the first deployment of Irish peacekeepers to Lebanon in 1958, men and women from the Irish Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána have served proudly in UN missions in troubled parts of the world, and continue to do so today. I would like to take this opportunity to salute their service and to remember in particular those brave personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Ireland also has a long-standing and deeply held commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation. In 1968, Ireland became the first country to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and we have continued to play a leading role in the intervening years.

"Our support for development has also been consistent and Ireland's appointment as one of two co-facilitators for the Sustainable Development Goal negotiations earlier this year was an acknowledgement of our sterling work in this area.

“And as our three year term-of-office on the UN Human Rights Council draws to a close, our long-standing and deeply-held commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights remains as strong as ever.”

This week marks the culmination of an eight month programme of events and projects to mark this anniversary. The programme was launched in May 2015 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to Ireland.

Minister Flanagan continued:

“On this coming Thursday, December 17, I will host a major Symposium with the participation of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson, and UN Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland. It is especially fitting that former Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, Minister for External Affairs when Ireland first took up its seat at the United Nations, will also participate.”

Minister Flanagan concluded:

"Whatever its flaws, a multilateral system of collective security is in Ireland's interests. The world needs a United Nations that is effective and for this reason Ireland must continue to play its role in shaping the future of the UN. That is why we are campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2020, to ensure that that voice of small but influential nations such as Ireland can be heard and have an impact on world affairs."

Press Office
14 December 2015

Note to Editors:

  • On 14 December 1955, Ireland was admitted to the United Nations alongside 15 other Member States (Albania, Jordan, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria Finland, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Nepal, Libya, Cambodia, Laos and Spain).
  • On the afternoon of Thursday 17 December, Minister Flanagan will host a Symposium to mark the 60th Anniversary of Ireland’s Membership of the United Nations. The Symposium will involve participation from former Minister of External Affairs and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, UN Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Symposium on the theme “Reflecting on the Past, Preparing for the Future” will be moderated by David McCullagh of RTÉ.
  • As part of the anniversary programme marking 60 years of Ireland’s membership of the United Nations, an Anniversary Exhibition ‘Ireland's First Years at the United Nations 1955-1957’ has been commissioned. The exhibition covers Ireland’s first years at the United Nations and reflects the major issues and challenges of the time. The exhibition been produced in collaboration between the Royal Irish Academy, the National Archives and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The exhibition schedule for the Exhibition is as follows:
  • 05-09 October 2015 United Nations Headquarters, New York
  • 3-13 November 2015 Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva
  • 18 December 2015-08 January 2016 Dublin Airport, Terminal 1
  • 10-15 January 2016 Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson St, Dublin
  • 18 January-15 February 2016 Cork Airport
  • Ireland is campaigning for election in 2020 to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations for the 2021-22 term.