President Michael D Higgins has warned that the cost of inaction on climate change would be catastrophic.

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Higgins said the Paris Agreement provided both the framework and the foundations to move forward

He told delegates that the United Nations and its agencies are under attack through underfunding and withdrawal of support but voiced Ireland’s commitment to the UN, highlighting the fact that more than 600 Irish Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed on peacekeeping missions.

President Higgins said the Israel-Palestine conflict resonated deeply with Irish people because of our experience of prolonged conflict and he called on both sides to sit down and negotiate a peace agreement based on two states.

He said migration is central to the Irish consciousness and that Ireland has been transformed from a place where people were forced to leave, to somewhere that now has the opportunity to be a place of welcomes.

President Higgins made Ireland’s case for a seat on the UN Security Council and also called for reforms of the council.

"Quite simply, as we all know, many areas of the world are either insufficiently represented in the Security Council, under-represented or not at all represented," he said.

President Higgins' 'how dare you' speech