Eire/Minister/Foreign Affairs

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Employment.png Eire/Minister/Foreign Affairs 
(Minister of Foreign Affairs)

The Minister has responsibility for the relations between Ireland and foreign states

The Minister for Foreign Affairs is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Government of Ireland. Over the years a number of distinguished individuals have held the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. Under their tenure as minister they have redefined Ireland's relationship with the United Kingdom and have allowed Ireland join and take a prominent role in organisations such as the European Union and the United Nations. These individuals include:

  • Éamon de Valera – as the longest-serving Minister for External Affairs de Valera was President of the Council of the League of Nations, supported the admission of the Soviet Union, redefined Ireland's relationship with the United Kingdom and followed a policy of Irish neutrality during World War II.
  • Seán MacBride – during MacBride's short tenure as Minister Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth, refused to join NATO and became a member of the Council of Europe.
  • Frank Aiken – as another long-serving Minister Aiken adopted where possible an independent stance for Ireland at the United Nations and other international forums such as the Council of Europe. He introduced "Aiken Plan" to the UN in an effort to combine disarmament and peace in the Middle East and received the honour of being the first minister to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968 in Moscow.
  • Liam Cosgrave – as Minister from 1954 until 1957 Cosgrave took part in trade discussions and chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 1955. He also successfully presided over Ireland's admittance to the United Nations, defining Irish foreign policy for decades in his first address to the General Assembly in 1956.
  • Patrick Hillery – during his four-year tenure Hillery negotiated Irish membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) and earned a high international profile when, in the aftermath of the killing of thirteen unarmed civilians in Derry by British Paratroopers (known as "Bloody Sunday"), he travelled to the United Nations in New York to demand UN involvement in peace-keeping on the streets of Northern Ireland.
  • Garret FitzGerald – became Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1973, shortly after Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC), now known as the European Union (EU). With a background in economics and journalism, and as a politician of great intelligence and scope, his innovative views, energy and fluency in French ensured that Ireland's first Presidency of the European Council in the second half of 1975 was a success. He travelled extensively in his role as President of the General Affairs Council of the EEC. His tenure at the Department of Foreign Affairs helped him later to achieve the leadership of the party.


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Simon Coveney14 June 2017
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