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Tánaiste address on Ireland’s engagement with the world

Irish flag, UN

"Our priority is to secure the maximum benefit from our international engagement" - Tánaiste

Launching a book on the Irish statesman, Frank Aiken, the Tánaiste outlined the role of Ireland in the world, our external action objectives, and the belief that small countries have a vital role to play on the global stage.

At the book launch on the life of Irish statesman and former Minister Frank Aiken, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, presented an overview of Ireland’s foreign policy and the important role that Ireland has and continues to play internationally.

"Nothing is truly foreign any more - and nothing is wholly domestic" - Tánaiste

Drawing on the pioneering work of Aiken and Irish diplomats at the United Nations in the early days of Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, the Tánaiste noted how the qualities and insights demonstrated at that time remain deeply relevant today as we seek to rebuild our reputation on the world stage and to influence developments. The qualities of pragmatism, principles, multilateralism, and foresight point the way for Ireland’s foreign policy.

Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken was the first signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken was the first signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968

In his speech, the Tánaiste emphasised how across all of the Government’s work: “nothing is truly foreign any more - and nothing is wholly domestic”. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, Ireland’s foreign policy must continue to be able to manage a changing world. As a small country with a global outlook and one of the most globalised economies in the world, Ireland is particularly exposed to these changes – to their benefits as well as to the risks that come with them. As well as these challenges, Ireland’s foreign policy has ensured that we are uniquely well placed to prosper in this emerging globalised world.

As well as these reflections, the Tánaiste outlined Ireland’s four primary policy priorities: a peaceful and fully reconciled society in Northern Ireland, a strong and effective European Union, a rules-based international order with effective institutions for global governance, and finally Ireland’s national reputation.

By having clear goals and a focus on results, Ireland has shown that that small countries do exert real influence on the world stage.