Ireland's Voice Matters

How we speak about ourselves as a nation is important. How Ireland speaks about global issues at a challenging time is also important.

When I speak on behalf of the Irish people, in the European Parliament, at the United Nations or with other Heads of State, I have so often experienced the international regard for our record as peacemakers, honest brokers and champions of human rights.

Ireland’s voice within Europe is important. The delivery of a Social Europe requires a renewed and strengthened championing of solidarity, diversity and accountability. In every part of Europe, there is a hunger for participation. I have called, and will continue to call, for more meaningful and challenging conversations between Europe’s institutions and the people in the European street.

One of our deepest and most complex relationships is that with our closest neighbour. When I visited the United Kingdom in 2014, I spoke of our nations as “Ar Scáth a Chéile” – living in each other’s shadow and shelter. This is something which will remain true, whatever political changes the near future might bring. The Presidency can continue to play a crucial role in sustaining positive relationships between our peoples in challenging circumstances.

Ireland’s ethical multi-lateralism, a cooperation based not on short-term interests but on shared values, has helped deliver global agreements like the Sustainable Development Goals. Sabina and I intend to keep these goals, along with our climate change commitments, firmly on the agenda in the years ahead.

Ireland can and must use its voice in the world to promote peace, dialogue, sustainable development, human rights and an end to global poverty. Our partners in so many parts of vulnerable planet look to us for both leadership and support.