Ireland "remains open minded" on the idea of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, says Foreign Minister

12. May 2018

Simon Coveney addresses the UN General Assembly, 23 September 2017 (UN photo)

In a written answer to a question put forward in the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish legislature, by the independent member Thomas Broughan, the deputy head of government of Ireland and Minister on Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, stated that he has "noted proposals for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly" and that "Ireland remains open minded on the concept of such an assembly."

In the answer that was published on Thursday, Coveney explains that "as a steadfast supporter of the UN, Ireland continues to advocate, through a range of fora, for reform of the UN’s structures and systems to best equip the organisation to respond to the many and interlinked global challenges of the twenty first century. Ireland is committed, in this context, to consider proposals seeking to improve the effectiveness of the UN and the contribution it can make to the peace, stability and development of all nations."

He goes on to point out that in his opinion, "any proposals for a UN Parliamentary Assembly should add value to the multilateral governance system and, importantly, have broad support among the UN membership."

According to the minister's statement, "Ireland will consider how best to engage on this proposal, and other efforts at reform of UN institutions, as the concept of a UN Parliamentary Assembly progresses."

The Secretary-General of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Andreas Bummel, welcomed the statement of the Irish foreign minister and noted that the proposal could be considered "as part of the ongoing discussions on the UN General Assembly's revitalization."

The campaign has been endorsed by over 1,500 current and former members of parliament from over 100 countries. Before assuming office in 2011, the current President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, was among those who endorsed the campaign's appeal as a member of the Dáil Éireann.

Historically, other prominent Irish politicians who voiced support for the idea of a global parliamentary body include the former foreign minister and lawyer Seán MacBride who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.

Top image: Simon Carbery Coveney arrives at informal meeting of ministers for foreign affairs in Gymnich, September 2017. Picture: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/CC BY 2.0 

Tags: Ireland