Ireland has won a seat for a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council.

Ireland competed against Canada and Norway for two seats on the council after ballots were cast and counted at the UN General Assembly in New York.

A total of 191 countries voted. Ireland needed a two-thirds majority, or 128 votes, to win and has obtained the number required.

Norway also secured a seat on the council.

President Michael D Higgins welcomed the result of the vote, saying that Ireland ran a campaign which did not avoid the global issues that are urgent.

Mr Higgins said that the campaign engaged with issues "such as peace-building and peacekeeping, the elimination of global poverty, the strengthening of multilateralism, and reform of the United Nations.

"The work of a dedicated team has been recognised, and I congratulate them on having brought what was a principled campaign, in a competitive environment, to both fruition and success," he said. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland is taking its place at the top table.

Speaking at a press briefing following the result, he said that becoming a member of the Security Council is a recognition of the hard work Ireland has done globally

Mr Varadkar said Ireland would work to help those countries who are most fragile.

He also said that he had spoken to President Higgins and he paid tribute to Ireland's ambassador to the UN.

Táiniste and Minster for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the President had worked tirelessly and he paid tribute to his ministerial colleagues, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, as well as Bono who all worked towards this goal.

Speaking at the same briefing, Mr Coveney said that Irish staff and diplomats had been working hard for this for years.

In the past, member states have voted by secret ballot during a meeting of the assembly.

However, because of the coronavirus and social distancing, a new system was agreed that saw UN ambassadors casting their ballots at different time slots throughout the day.

Ireland won rotating terms on the UN Security Council in the past in 1962, 1981 and 2001. 

The Government officially launched its campaign to secure a seat two years ago.

Since then, President Higgins, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have visited the UN headquarters in New York to promote Ireland's candidacy.

Cultural events involving the likes of U2 and Riverdance also formed part of Ireland's Security Council bid.

The Government spent €840,000 over the last three years on Ireland's campaign.

Read more:
Crunch time for Ireland's Security Council bid
Read more: Why does Ireland want a seat on 'dysfunctional' UN Security Council?

The Security Council has ten non-permanent members in addition to the veto-wielding Big Five - the UK, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The General Assembly also elected its president for the 2020-21 session - Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir. He was the only candidate in the contest.

Additional reporting Maggie Doyle