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Ireland takes up seat on UN Security Council for 2021-2022 term

Ireland took up its seat today, 1 January 2021, as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 term.

Support for the United Nations is a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy. Over the coming two years, Ireland will have the opportunity to make a contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. The agenda of the Security Council is broad, covering over thirty country-specific issues, including some long established conflicts and peace processes, and over twenty thematic agenda items. As a member, Ireland will engage actively across the full agenda of the Council’s work.

Speaking earlier, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:

This is a great honour and a great responsibility for Ireland. The members of the UN have entrusted this country with the task of supporting and promoting international peace and security. We will act fairly and independently. 

By its very nature, the agenda of the Security Council includes many critical, complex, and disputed issues. We will bring careful judgement, our core values and our lived experience of overcoming conflict on our island to our work and to our decision-making on the Security Council.”

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., said:

“The United Nations is at the heart of Irish foreign policy. Whether it is through our unbroken record of UN peacekeeping since 1958 or our leading roles in disarmament and non-proliferation, we know what can be achieved when countries work together. We take our seat on the Council at a very challenging time but we are determined to play our part to build the trust and political will necessary to achieve progress in even the most intractable conflicts. 

Membership of the UN Security Council is an opportunity for Ireland to make a significant international contribution, to strengthen our relations with key partners, and to project our values on the global stage.  It is in keeping with our long-standing tradition of an independent and principled foreign policy and support for the UN.”

Ireland will engage constructively across the full range of issues discussed by the Council on the basis of three principles: Building Peace, Strengthening Conflict Prevention, and Ensuring Accountability.

Under Building Peace, Ireland will contribute to shaping the mandates under which peacekeepers serve, informed by our longstanding and proud record as a troop contributor. In doing so, Ireland will seek to ensure that the peace we foster is inclusive of civil society, women and young people.

Under Strengthening Conflict Prevention, Ireland will work to address the underlying factors that contribute to conflict, including hunger and food insecurity, climate change, violations of human rights, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

In respect of Ensuring Accountability, Ireland will promote international humanitarian and human rights law, including providing support to those who promote and defend human rights. Ireland will stand firmly in support of the International Criminal Court and the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute, to ensure that those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern cannot act with impunity.

Ireland will serve as Presidency of the Council in September 2021.

Our engagement on the Council will be a Government-wide effort, informed too by the extensive expertise available within Irish civil society and academia.

The opportunity to hold a seat on the Security Council occurs once-in-a-generation. Ireland is ready to take this opportunity to engage the Council membership and wider international community on critical aspects of international peace and security, in line with Ireland’s principled, consistent and independent foreign policy.


Press Office

01 January 2021

Ireland takes up its seat on the Security Council on 1 January 2021, for a two-year term (2021-2022). It joins newly elected members Kenya, India, Mexico and Norway alongside existing elected members Estonia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Niger, Tunisia and Vietnam. The Permanent Five members of the Security Council are: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.

This will be Ireland’s fourth time to serve on the UN Security Council, having previously served in 1960, 1980-81 and 2001-2002.  Ireland joined the United Nations in 1955.

The UN Security Council, which is in permanent session in New York, has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has a current agenda of 31 country and regional issues and 22 thematic files, as well as 19 subsidiary committees and working groups.

Elected Council members also take on a number of leadership roles during their terms, including chairing Sanctions Committees and thematic Working Groups and acting as primary drafters (Penholders) of some Security Council Resolutions.


Ireland expects to be responsible for negotiating, with Norway, Council outcomes on the Syria humanitarian access file, and with Niger, on the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS). We also expect to assume leadership roles in relation to Women, Peace and Security; Climate and Security; Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); and Somalia.  These roles reflect Ireland’s existing foreign policy priorities and strengths.


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