Dublin, June, 2015
The UN Secretary General described it as an honour to attend the Event, with his presence there being indicative of Ireland’s dynamic role in UN peace keeping activities over the last 60 years, and a desire to see, “strengthened partnerships between Ireland and the United Nations”.
Ireland joined the UN in 1955 but within just three short years it was playing a leading role in international peacekeeping though the defence forces, on our first mission to Lebanon. Minister Flanagan said he was proud of the state’s record in “protection of the human rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable people”, further attesting to Ireland’s distinguished leadership in providing the Head of a UN Mission on a remarkable twelve occasions”.
Mr Ban Ki-moon said that Ireland had always “punched above its weight” adding, “this is why I admire Irish people and your spirit”.
“Several generations and many thousands of men and women have now served in various capacities across six decades of membership. Ireland’s imprint has been huge and historic – well out of proportion to the country’s size and your population”.
Minister Flanagan noted the distinguished presence of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave at the event, and his role at the vanguard of Ireland’s international peacekeeping efforts; “Liam’s encyclopaedic memory and rich store of anecdotes provide a fascinating insight into the period of Ireland’s admission to the UN in 1955, which Liam led as Minister of External Affairs”, said Mr Flanagan.
Connecting the past to the present, Minister Flanagan highlighted Ireland’s significant profile, at the heart of important UN activities, citing it as indicative of Ireland’s long and distinguished history of skilful diplomatic navigation. Ireland’s appointment as one of the two co-facilitators for the post-2015 development agenda negotiations was, he said, a reflection of the confidence in Ireland’s capacity to act as “bridge-builders between major groups” on the international stage.
Following his well-received address the Secretary General took some time to sample Ireland’s world renowned hospitality, seen here sharing a tipple with ChildFund Ireland’s CEO Michael Kiely, himself a former Commandant in the Irish Defence Forces with extensive experience in peacekeeping roles on high-profile UN missions.