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Taoiseach and Minister Flanagan launch a major review of Irish foreign policy

Diplomatic Relations, International Relations, Minister Charles Flanagan, Press Releases, Ireland, 2015

Taoiseach and Minister Flanagan launch a major review of Irish foreign policy

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today (Tuesday) launched a review of Ireland’s foreign policy: The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World, at a Conference in Dublin Castle organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The review considers how the Government safeguards our peace, security and economic prosperity, and promotes reconciliation and cooperation at home. The protection of our citizens and the promotion of our values and our interests abroad are at the core of Ireland’s foreign policy.

The Taoiseach stated:

“Our foreign policy is more important than ever to ensure Ireland engages successfully at the heart of the EU and on the world stage. Our network of embassies and State agencies are making a vital contribution to the Government’s objectives of job creation and economic growth.”

Speaking following the launch, Minister Flanagan stated:

“Ireland is a country with a global people, economy, culture and outlook. Ireland’s foreign policy is an essential tool to serve the Irish people and promote their values and economic interests abroad.

“The Global Island offers a progressive, forward-looking vision of Ireland’s place in the world. It sets out the key areas of focus for the Government’s global engagement to help secure a prosperous future for the Irish people, and to contribute to building a better world.

“The global financial crisis showed the fundamental importance of our place as a fully engaged member of the EU, of strong relationships with a wide range of international partners, and of the contribution of foreign policy to job creation in Ireland. As we move into a period of economic growth, Ireland’s foreign policy will be central to promoting the Government’s trade, tourism, education and investment goals.

“Our foreign policy is also a statement of who we are as a people. The Global Island reaffirms Ireland’s principled engagement in areas such as international development, human rights, disarmament, UN peacekeeping and the search for peace in the Middle East.”

In keeping with this tradition, the Minister confirmed that Ireland will seek election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2021-2022.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a wide range of services to Irish people living, working and travelling abroad and is leading the Government’s engagement with the global Irish diaspora. This includes the new generation of young Irish who have found opportunities abroad in recent years. The Government’s work promoting partnership, cooperation and reconciliation on the island of Ireland is also a key priority.”

Press Office
13 January 2015

Notes for editors:

‘The Global Island’ is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website
• The address by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, is available here


‘The Global Island’ is the result of a wide-ranging process of consultation in the first half of 2014 involving other Departments, State Agencies, the Oireachtas, civil society and members of the public.

The last time such an exercise was undertaken was in 1996 with the production of the White Paper on Foreign Policy ‘Challenges and opportunities abroad’.

Content of the Review

‘The Global Island’ reviews Ireland’s foreign policy for the period ahead. An opening section describes the changing global context, followed by sections under five closely linked themes:

(i) Our People takes stock of the ongoing work in pursuit of reconciliation and cooperation on the island of Ireland; the provision of support for Irish citizens travelling, living and working abroad; the growing engagement with the Irish diaspora; and the promotion of Irish culture abroad.

(ii) Our Values sets out Ireland's support for a fairer, more just, more secure and more sustainable world through our development programme, human rights policies, peacekeeping, disarmament and security policies and growing engagement with emerging global issues including climate change. It also considers the role of the EU and UN in amplifying Ireland's voice and extending its influence.

(iii) Our Prosperity considers the global economic background to the ongoing efforts in support of recovery, growth and job creation, in particular through trade, tourism, education, investment and the enhancement of Ireland's reputation.

(iv) Our place in Europe considers the fundamental importance for Ireland in all of the foregoing areas of our membership of the EU and how the Government engages across the broad agenda of EU decision-making to safeguard and promote the interests of Ireland and to shape the EU and its global engagement.

(v) Our Influence considers how Ireland can best leverage the resources available to secure the maximum benefit for the Irish people from Ireland’s international engagement.

Next steps

Minister Flanagan will bring forward a series of initiatives to implement the vision and goals set out in ‘The Global Island’ with a review of progress at the end of 2015.