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Minister Flanagan to address United Nations General Assembly in New York


Minister Flanagan to address United Nations General Assembly in New York

Ministerial Programme for the annual UN General Assembly includes:
• Address the UN General Assembly on Ireland’s UN priorities
• Series of bilateral meetings with other UN Member States, with UN SG, Ban Ki-moon and with senior US government officials
• Address to business audience as part of EI trade event
• Engagement with the Irish-American community in NYC
• Keynote address on Ireland and the EU at Fordham University

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today (Monday) begins a busy programme of engagements in New York where foreign ministers from around the world have gathered for the United National General Assembly. During his visit, Minister Flanagan will address the United Nations General Assembly and meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He will undertake a series of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from around the world at the General Assembly, as well as participating in an EI trade event, delivering a keynote address at Fordham University on Ireland and the EU, and engaging with the Irish community.

The Minister will begin his visit to New York this morning (Monday) by hosting a business breakfast meeting with Enterprise Ireland and a number of its client companies active in the US market.

Later in the day, Minister Flanagan will deliver a keynote address on “Ireland and the European Union in Changing Times” at the School of Law of Fordham University, in which he will underline that Ireland is “wholeheartedly committed to our membership of the European Union and of the Eurozone” and emphasise the attractive environment that Ireland offers US investors.

The Minister will say that:

“Ireland will continue to serve as a gateway to the EU for foreign investors. I know that American companies are particularly attracted by what Ireland can offer them: an English-speaking base, ease of doing business, a competitive offering, a track record in innovation, and most of all, a highly-educated talented workforce which is the cornerstone of industry.”

Minister Flanagan will also speak to the audience at Fordham about the diverse range of markets with which Ireland now trades:

“The United States is overtaking the UK as Ireland’s largest trading partner. Meanwhile the Eurozone economies account for twice the goods trade we enjoy with the UK, while we continue to expand on a global scale, especially in Asia. This illustrates the very different trading profile that Ireland now enjoys compared to the early 1970s when Ireland and the UK joined the EEC together.

“The UK remains a very important partner and we remain determined to maintain the strong flow of goods and services, both North and South on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain. But it is important to point out that our economy is now more diverse much better positioned to meet the trade challenges around Brexit than at any time in the past.”

Speaking ahead of his departure for the UN, Minister Flanagan said:

“Ireland’s commitment to the principles and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter remains at the very heart of our foreign policy and the annual UN General Assembly provides a valuable opportunity to set out Ireland’s priorities and to engage with international partners.

“Ireland is particularly active in both UN peacekeeping and in tackling hunger and poverty. In my address to the UN General Assembly, I will highlight the fact that conflict and deprivation are key drivers of the current migration crisis. The community of nations needs to work together to address the root causes of migration and the UN has a critical role to play in this regard. Today’s migration crisis resonates with Ireland’s own sad history of emigration and I will be emphasising the need for the international community tackle the root causes of the migration crisis, rather than focus on addressing the symptoms of the problem.

“Ireland played a key role in facilitating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the holistic multilateral approach offers a model that can be adopted in addressing the challenges posed by migration.”

For the second year, the Minister’s delegation will include UN Youth Delegates. Minister Flanagan stated:

“Many of the challenges being discussed this week are not going to be resolved overnight. We must always look towards the future of our influence in world affairs, and active and engaged young people will be central to Ireland’s continued contribution to issues such as peace and security, human rights and development. In this context, I am delighted to add that we will have in our delegation only our second-ever UN Youth Delegates, Samantha O'Brien O'Reilly from Meath and Colm O’Rourke from Dublin.”

Throughout the week, the Minister has a busy programme of speaking engagements and meetings with fellow foreign ministers from a number of countries.

Minister Flanagan’s programme will also include meetings with senior US officials and a number of Irish-American community focused engagements. He will also meet with Irish community and business leaders for discussions, including on US immigration reform, and he will brief them on developments in Northern Ireland and the implications for Ireland of the UK decision to leave the EU.

Press Office
19 September 2016


Note to Editors:
1. Fordham University is located in New York City and was founded by Bishop John Hughes, a native of Co. Tyrone, in 1841 - it is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year - and has a long history of engagement with Ireland. Fordham cooperates closely with both University College Dublin and the Queen’s University Belfast. Fordham is composed of ten constituent colleges, four of which are for undergraduates and six of which are for postgraduates. It enrolls approximately 15,000 students across three campuses in New York State: Rose Hill in the Bronx, Lincoln Center in Manhattan and Westchester in West Harrison.

The full text of the Minister’s speech will be released on Monday.

2. Each September, world leaders gather at UN headquarters to discuss solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Central on the agenda of this year’s 71st session of the General Assembly are the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and above all, the need to make progress on efforts to tackle the current migrant and refugee crisis. This year’s General Assembly will be directly preceded (on Monday 19th) by a High Level Meeting on Migration and Refugees which aims to build an effective international response to the problem of large scale movements of refugees and migrants.

3. The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 Goals, agreed by the world’s 193 countries in 2015. The "SDGs" succeed the Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of 2015. The Goals represent an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty, address environmental degradation and climate change, and build a more peaceful, fair and sustainable world. More information on the Sustainable Development Goals is available at:

4. The UN Youth Delegate Programme is an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in conjunction with the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). Ireland’s delegation to the UN General Assembly will, for only the second time, include two UN Youth Delegates selected following a national competition organised by NYCI. Ireland’s 2016 UN Youth Delegates are Samantha O'Brien O'Reilly (22) from Kells, County Meath and Colm O’Rourke (25) from Cabra in Dublin.