Skip to main content

Minister Coveney to address United Nations General Assembly


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 the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and with senior US government officials
  • Engagement with the Irish-American community in NYC
  • Engagement with a wide range of senior UN officials and representatives of civil society
  • Interviews with international media organisations on Irish economic developments and Brexit

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, TD, and the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D., will on Monday begin a busy programme of engagements in New York where representatives of 193 Member States have gathered for the United National General Assembly. 

During his visit, Minister Coveney will address the United Nations General Assembly and meet with UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. He will undertake a wide range of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from around the world, as well as participating in an IDA event and engaging with the Irish community.

The Minister will begin his visit to New York on Monday by attending a meeting on reform of the United Nations which is being hosted by President Trump.  He will later meet over lunch with supporters of the Ireland Funds. On Monday night he will attend a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers who will discuss the situation in Libya with recently appointed UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Ghassan Salamé.

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

“The UN lies at the heart of Ireland’s foreign policy and it has done so for more than six decades.  We see very clearly the advantages of a rules-based order in international affairs which the UN provides for.  It is in our interests to pursue an active foreign policy because Ireland is a small, outward looking country which is heavily dependent on external trade for our well-being.

We have kept faith with the UN since we joined in 1955 and I believe that the case for multilateralism remains compelling, especially at this time of international uncertainty.  Global problems are often becoming local problems, and the interconnections between climate change, migration, conflict and poverty are clear to see and affect us all – wherever we are situated in the world.

We are a committed member of the UN and we continue to make our mark on human rights, disarmament, sustainable development and peacekeeping.  Our contribution to peacekeeping has been long and sustained.  Irish troops have given unbroken service to the UN since 1958 and today we are the EU’s largest per capita contributor to UN peacekeeping operations”.

On Wednesday the Minister will, on behalf of Ireland, sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which was adopted in July.  Ireland, as one of the Core Group which put forward the UN Resolution which led to the adoption of the Treaty, will be among the first States to sign it.   The Minister said:

“I am happy that, finally, the international community is taking this important step in implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s disarmament commitments.   There is no place for weapons of mass destruction in the 21st Century. This new Treaty reflects the genuine consensus and sense of determination of those who joined the Conference to negotiate it, both States and Civil Society.   Its content is ground-breaking. The Treaty should be embraced by all as a promise to humainty:  that nuclear weapons with all their terrible consequences, should never be used again.”

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

“The importance of the linkages between Youth, Peace and Security are increasingly recognised by the international community as key to long term international stability.  Ireland must play our part in addressing the numerous issues which are part of this agenda.  This includes the centrality of active and engaged young people to Ireland’s continued contribution on issues such as peace and security, human rights and development. In this context, I am delighted that we will have in our delegation only our third set of UN Youth Delegates, Lauren Flanagan, from Kilquade, Co. Wicklow and Paul Dockery from Dromod, Co. Leitrim.

Minister Coveney’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.

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

Minister Cannon said: “This week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly provides for discussions on key humanitarian and development issues.  I look forward to engaging in a wide range of meetings at which I will highlight Ireland’s significant contributions to alleviate humanitarian suffering in some of the world’s worst conflict zones.”




Notes to editors

  1. Each September, world leaders gather at UN headquarters to discuss solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. This year’s 72nd session of the General Assembly is the first to take place under the UN leadership of António Guterres who took office as Secretary-General on 1 January 2017.  Mr. Guterres has put forward a number of proposals to reform the UN’s peace and security, development and management systems.  In particular he is highlighting a need to focus on conflict prevention in order to save lives and to prevent societies losing hard-won development gains.
  2. The opening for Signature of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted on 7 July 2017 at the UN by 122 States will be one of the highlights of the UNGA High Level week this year.  Ireland, as one of the Core Group which put forward the UN Resolution which led to the adoption of the Treaty will be among the first States to sign it. The Treaty is the outcome of a two-year process led by States and Civil Society concerned at the increasing risks and catastrophic consequences of a nuclear weapons explosion as well as by lack of progress by the Nuclear Weapons States on the Disarmament provisions of the NPT. 
  3. 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 include two UN Youth Delegates selected following a national competition organised by NYCI. Ireland’s 2017 UN Youth Delegates are Lauren Flanagan (24), from Kilquade, Co. Wicklow and Paul Dockery (22) from Dromod, Co. Leitrim.