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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade turns blue for UN anniversary

To mark United Nations Day, Saturday 24 October 2015, Iveagh House, the historic headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on St. Stephen’s Green, will light up in blue this weekend, official colour of the UN.

This is part of the inaugural worldwide “Turn the World UN Blue” initiative. Iveagh House will join other iconic landmarks across the globe, including Dublin Castle, the Pyramids at Giza, the Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building among others, in celebrating this special day.

Commenting on the celebrations, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan said:

This is a very auspicious year for Ireland and the UN, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, as well as the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s membership.

"In particular today, I am mindful of the 382 member of the Irish Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána that are currently serving in UN missions around the world in locations including the Golan Heights and Western Sahara. This year I visited Irish troops serving in Lebanon and I was struck by the very high regard for our Defence Forces overseas, among fellow international peacekeepers and among the local community.

United Nations Day offers us an opportunity to highlight Ireland’s commitment to the UN, our membership of which has been a cornerstone of Ireland’s foreign policy for the past 60 years.”

Minister Flanagan added:

I am delighted that we are joining with fellow members of the United Nations across the world in marking the 70th anniversary of its foundation in this very special way.

"Today's initiative helps remind Irish people of our country's strong connection to the UN. Over the last 60 years, Ireland's legacy as a member of the UN has included playing a leading role in Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament and, more recently, co-facilitating agreement on the historic Sustainable Development Goals.

The past 70 years have witnessed seismic changes to the geo-political landscape, with the UN responding and evolving in order to address the many challenges to international peace and security these changes have posed. It can only respond successfully to such challenges when supported by its member states and, for Ireland’s part, our commitment to the United Nations and to the values and principles it represents is as strong and resolute as it was when we joined the UN in 1955.

The UN is engaged in important work in all corners of the world and we in Ireland are, and will remain, fully supportive of that work.

23 OCTOBER 2015


Notes for Editors

• Further details about the “Turn the World UN Blue” initiative are available from the UN at Citizens worldwide will be asked to take action by sharing their "choose blue" images using the hashtag #UN70

• The UN60 programme celebrates the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the United Nations. Ireland joined the United Nations on 14 December 1955, along with Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka. Up to 1955 there were 60 members and in 1955, Ireland joined with 15 other states bringing the number to 76. The programme was launched during the visit to Ireland by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May this year. The initiative includes, among other things, the creation and distribution of a special UN60 Classroom Map to every school in Ireland, an inaugural UN Youth Delegate Programme, an anniversary exhibition, an event marking Ireland’s contribution to UN peacekeeping, and an Open Policy Debate. You can find more information about the UN60 programme of events on our website at and on Twitter via the hashtag #IrelandUN60.

• Ireland currently deploys 382 members of Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána to 7 UN Missions in Cyprus, Lebanon, Golan Heights, the Middle East, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Western Sahara. For more information on Ireland’s involvement with the UN Peacekeeping operations, please visit our website here:

• The headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Iveagh House is located at 78-81 St. Stephen’s green. The original house, 80 St. Stephen’s Green, was designed and built by Richard Castle in 1736 for the Bishop of Cork, Robert Clayton. Benjamin Lee Guinness bought this house in 1856 and in 1866 he bought 81 St. Stephen’s Green and merged the two houses together, building the stone portico that is the beautiful front of Iveagh House today. The Guinness family donated the house to the State in 1939 and since then it has exclusively been the home of the Department of Foreign Affairs.