31. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his Department has put forward, or has taken a role in, the development of policies to strengthen the United Nations’ remit, especially in relation to states where the government, and the rule of law, have failed, or where a former government without any democratic mandate is making war on its own citizens. (Question 19203/15 asked on 19 May 2015)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In international efforts to find political solutions to end conflict we naturally look to the UN and the UN Security Council for leadership. In some situations of protracted conflict where Ireland has limited ability to affect real change on the ground, we focus on the humanitarian relief effort to alleviate suffering, in those areas where we can make a difference.

I believe that the Security Council must be better equipped to respond to the many security crises that confront us. Ireland has taken a lead role in calling for Security Council reform, arguing for a more representative Council, improving its working methods and reform of the veto. Such reforms would better equip the Council to deal with conflicts such as those in Syria and Libya.

While the immediate prospects for a political resolution in Syria remain bleak, it is incumbent on all in the international community to support the new UN Special Envoy, Steffan di Mistura, in his efforts to progress a solution based on the Geneva principles which provide for transition to a new, agreed form of government within Syria. It also remains important that all regional stakeholders who are in a position to exert influence are fully engaged in UN-led peace efforts. Ireland continues to support a referral by the UN Security Council of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and of the need for accountability for the multiple war crimes committed during the conflict.

Ireland has been strongly supportive of the efforts of the UN to facilitate an inclusive talks process aimed at reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis. Libya is a country which, since the outbreak of violence last year, has been sorely lacking in the rule of law. The vacuum of effective state authority which has accompanied Libya’s descent toward civil war in recent times has been cruelly exploited by terrorist groups including groups affiliated with ISIS. I would restate my hope that the progress made in the UN brokered talks on Libya heretofore can soon be translated into an agreement which can guarantee a better future for the people of Libya.

It is my hope that in the immediate to short term progress can be made on resolving these conflicts and the many other conflicts that confront us. In the medium term I hope that the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform will bear fruit and better equip the UN Security Council to respond to future crises.