Category: Archive

Ireland is surprise winner of UN Security Council seat

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Ireland’s global role is set for a dramatic boost after United Nations members voted Tuesday to give the Republic a seat on the Security Council after a 20-year absence.

The vote, carried out by secret ballot at UN headquarters in New York, came as a surprise even to fervent Irish boosters.

Norway had been expected to quickly secure one of three rotating seats on offer to Europe.

That left Ireland facing the formidable challenge posed by Italy, one of the world’s leading economic and military powers and a country with a far larger network of diplomatic outposts around the globe.

A widespread view was that Ireland would be overwhelmed by Italy’s ability to charm and cajole other General Assembly members into supporting Rome’s bid.

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In fact, the reverse turned out to be true. Ireland topped both Norway and Italy in the first round of balloting Tuesday.

With the quota for election set at 116, Ireland immediately secured election by reaching 130 votes.

Norway came in second at 114, just two votes short of the quota. Italy, which served on the Security Council up until only four years ago, was trailing badly with 94 votes.

Each member state of the UN can cast two votes. Most, if not all, had been lobbied by Irish diplomats and political leaders over the last two years. That lobbying had reached as near fever pitch as diplomacy ever can in recent weeks.

Ireland’s stunning success was immediately hailed by Ireland’s foreign minister, Brian Cowen.

"Ireland’s successful election today to the UN Security Council for the 2001-2002 term is a major achievement for Irish diplomacy and our victory is a recognition of the esteem in which Ireland is held internationally," Cowen said.

Cowen extended congratulations to a number of individuals, including Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, Richard Ryan.

The two-year Security Council term would mean a beefing up of staff numbers at the Irish Mission to the UN in New York, Cowen said.

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