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Ireland at the United Nations

Ireland at the United Nations 1955 - 2015

A place among the nations: Ireland at the UN 1955 - 2015

On 14 December 1955, Ireland joined the United Nations. This year marks both the UN’s 70th year in existence and Ireland’s 60th year of membership. The visit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Ireland marked the launch of a number of public events to celebrate 60 years of active engagement in the UN by Ireland.

At the start of his visit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was awarded the Tipperary International Peace Award. In his speech, Minister Flanagan praised the Secretary-General’s leadership on climate change, his commitment to empowering women, and his commitment to the core principles that the United Nations represents: peace, development and human rights.

Though our membership of the UN, Ireland has played a significant role in the promotion of international peace. We have an unbroken record of service to blue-helmet peacekeeping since 1958, serving in such difficult and challenging places as the Middle East, the Congo and West and North Africa. As the threats to peace in the world are changing – conflict, terrorism, epidemics such as Ebola, climate change, hunger and the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War – we need to look at new ways of maintaining peace.

Ireland has had an unbroken record of service to UN peacekeeping since 1958.

Secretary-General Ban also delivered the keynote address at an Iveagh House lecture, to mark Ireland’s 60th anniversary of UN membership.

In his speech, Minister Flanagan highlighted our distinction contribution though peacekeeping, decolonisation, self-determination and the struggle against apartheid; on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; on protecting and promoting human rights; and on advancing human development.

Ireland's imprint at the UN has been huge and historic - Ban Ki-moon.


Since joining the UN in 1955, Ireland and the world has changed so much. Through the UN, Ireland has played a role as a small but powerful voice for democracy, equality, peace, security, and development.

To celebrate 60 years of active engagement in the UN, Ireland will host a number of public events, both in Ireland and internationally, to raise awareness and promote debate about our contribution to one of the most important and ambitious projects in world history.

As we look back on the past six decades in the United Nations, we also look forward to the next 60 years of Ireland taking its place amongst the nations of the world to create a better future for humanity.

Pic shows UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon with Donncha O’Callaghan, Goodwill Ambassador, UNICEF Ireland, Evanna Lynch, High Profile Supporter, UNICEF Ireland and Minister Sean Sherlock in Iveagh House yesterday. PIC. KEITH ARKINS NO REPRO FEE For further information please contact:Clare Herbert, UNICEF Ireland, Communications and Media Manager, 87 9421281/+ 353 1 8783000

A special youth event was held in Iveagh House to launch the United Nations’ Youth Delegate Programme of Ireland, when two young people - aged 18 to 25 - to join Ireland’s delegation to the United Nations in New York in September 2015.

Minister Sherlock was joined by the UN Secretary General and over 100 young people from around Ireland to announce the programme and to discuss a new set of international Sustainable Development Goals and their vision for the world in 2030.

Find out more about the programme of events:

25 May Dublin Castle Iveagh House Lecture; UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon "The UN at 70: Looking Back, Looking Forward"
26 May Iveagh House, Dublin Young People and Sustainable Development: A Conversation with UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon
2 July University College Dublin Irish Humanitarian Summit
September Schools nationwide Launch of Reference Map of Ireland’s UN Engagement Across The Globe
September/October United Nations, New York UN Youth Delegate Programme in New York
1 October American Irish Historical Society  
5-9 October UN Headquarters New York Anniversary Exhibition on Ireland’s First Years at the United Nations (1955-1957)
October Iveagh House, Dublin Iveagh House Lecture: ‘The Role of the UN in Supporting Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals’
28 October Iveagh House, Dublin Open Policy Debate: New Security Challenges for the Multilateral Order
November Dublin UN Peacekeeping - A Celebration of Ireland's Proud Engagement
November - December Iveagh House, Dublin Iveagh Scholars: ‘Our Experience at the UN’
14 December Iveagh House, Dublin Symposium: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Ireland’s UN Membership

The United Nations was set up after the horrors of World War II by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN - a total membership of 193 countries.