The Taoiseach heads to New York for a busy schedule of UN events (and will also go through 30 Rock)
TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN will travel to New York today before attending a series of UN events in the city next week.
The Taoiseach will chair a Security Council meeting on Thursday, where he is expected to send a clear message to the Council that he must take climate change and its contribution to global instability seriously.
Ireland is an elected member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term that began on January 1 of this year.
Ireland takes over the presidency of the UN Security Council for September.
Regardless of the UN Security Council event, the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will officially open on Tuesday. The event gives all 193 member states the opportunity to address the chamber.
The Taoiseach will present Ireland’s national declaration to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.
He will set out Ireland’s position on a wide range of issues such as Covid-19 vaccines, human rights and the conflicts around the world in which Ireland is interested.
In addition, on Tuesday, he will participate in a joint EU / UN event on the empowerment of women in peace and conflict situations.
The Taoiseach will also have a number of bilateral meetings with other European and world leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
On Wednesday, he will address the Council on Foreign Relations on Ireland’s priorities at the UN, the transatlantic relationship and Brexit.
While in New York, the Taoiseach is also expected to visit NBC Studios located in historic 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan.
US President Joe Biden will also deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
New York governor’s ties to Ireland
In his bilateral program, the Taoiseach will meet with the new Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, who has close ties to Ireland, her grandparents having emigrated from Kerry to the United States just over 100 years ago.
Martin will also participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Irish Arts Center and meet with representatives from a number of leading Irish and Irish-American community organizations.
The Taoiseach will also undertake a number of economic engagements during the week, supporting the work of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in the United States.
This is the first transatlantic event Micheál Martin has attended since becoming Taoiseach last year.
He did not go to the White House for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year. The occasion was marked remotely – an in-person meeting with President Joe Biden was not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney will also participate in a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from African and Middle Eastern states and key diplomatic figures linked to the Irish presidency of the Security Council.
The minister will also chair an interactive informal dialogue between members of the Security Council and the League of Arab States during his visit.
He will also participate in an event with the Euro-American Chamber of Commerce.
The minister has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks over his role in the planned appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone as UN envoy for freedom of expression.
He faced a motion of censure this week over it and called the whole fiasco politically embarrassing.
Prior to Zappone’s most recent UN appointment, which she has since declined, she was appointed as the government’s special envoy for Ireland’s candidacy for election to the UN Security Council.
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The nomination, which was also made by Coveney, ran until June 2020. Zappone has been involved in promoting Ireland’s candidacy in numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings, which have helped secure the Irish Presidency of the UN Security Council.
A government spokesperson confirmed The newspaper this week that if Zappone was invited to attend one of the UN events in New York this week, she would be welcome to do so. Another spokesperson stressed that Zappone’s “hard work” in 2019 and 2020 was very important for Ireland to successfully win the campaign for the seat.
Whether Zappone is on the list of attendees at one of the events or whether she was invited to an event by the Irish government has not been confirmed.
Some virtual events will also take place next week, with President Michael D Higgins attending the United Nations Food Systems Summit. Transport Minister Eamon Ryan will participate in an energy dialogue which is also taking place in a virtual format.
Elsewhere, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will travel to Washington DC on September 27 for two days of bilateral meetings.
TheJournal.ie political correspondent Christina Finn will bring you all the latest updates from Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s visit to New York this week.