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Ireland marks sixty years of United Nations membership

Members of Ireland’s military have served with distinction around the world and on behalf of the United Nations throughout Ireland’s six decades of UN membership. These Irish soldiers, members of today’s fully integrated army, are pictured in The Lebanon. Irish Defence Forces photo.

By Irish Echo Staff

Ireland is this week marking sixty years of its membership of the United Nations, and the high point of the celebration was a symposium being held in Dublin today to mark the anniversary.

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Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, hosted the symposium to mark the 60th anniversary and the lineup included former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Mary Robinson, and UN Special Representative for International Migration, Peter Sutherland.

The theme of the event is “Reflecting on the Past, Preparing for the Future.”

Said Minister Flanagan of the gathering and the anniversary: “This symposium is the culmination of a year-long program that has been organized by my department to celebrate sixty years of Ireland at the United Nations.

“It is significant that an Irishman, Peter Sutherland, and an Irishwoman, Mary Robinson, currently hold the roles of the UNSG’s Special Representatives in two areas which pose huge challenges to the global community – migration and climate change – and I am delighted that they are both here today, along with former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan.”

Ireland’s two UN Youth Delegates, Orla Murphy and Eoin O’Liatháin, also participated in the symposium.

“This year was the first time that Ireland appointed youth delegates for the UN General Assembly. Eoin and Orla travelled to New York to participate in the Assembly as part of Ireland’s official delegation.

“They represented the interests and concerns of young people in Ireland wonderfully and their participation in this event will ensure that we are listening to the voice of Irish youth who are, after all, the future of Ireland’s involvement with the UN.”

The symposium, according to a release from Minister Flanagan’s department, will also mark the Irish launch of a specially commissioned anniversary exhibition, “Ireland's First Years at the United Nations 1955-1957,” produced in collaboration with the Royal Irish Academy and the National Archives.

Commenting on the exhibition, Flanagan said: “The anniversary exhibition highlights how many of the foreign policy priorities and positions of principle established during Ireland’s early years of UN membership have effectively shaped the contours of Irish foreign policy to the United Nations to the present day.

“We can be rightly proud of the contribution Ireland has historically made, and continues to make, to the United Nations.

"Although the world of 2015 is vastly different from the world of 1955, Ireland’s commitment to the United Nations is as steadfast as it was sixty years ago.

“We can be proud of the positive and tangible impact we have had so far, and of the principled approach we have taken to international relations through the United Nations.”