Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney have formally launched Ireland's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking at an event at UN headquarters in New York, Mr Varadkar said that Ireland would bring hard won insights and practical lessons to the table.

He said that Ireland understands the need to listen and the importance of respecting differences.

In his address, Mr Coveney said the Irish were bridge builders by nature and a people who work to build collective solutions to global challenges.

The Government is hoping to secure a two-year term on the Security Council in 2021.

An exhibition area has been set up outside UN headquarters with tents and stalls showcasing Irish music, food and culture.

Earlier, Mr Varadkar laid a wreath at the building to commemorate Irish peacekeepers who lost their lives on UN service.

Last night, UN ambassadors were invited to a U2 concert in Madison Square Garden.

Bono paid tribute to the UN and highlighted the fact that this is the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ireland won two-year rotating terms on the Security Council in 1962, 1981 and 2001.


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Ireland has been a member of the United Nations since 1955

A former Irish ambassador to the UN has said it would be very difficult for Ireland to get a seat on the Security Council but he believed it would happen.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, Noel Dorr said it was very important that Ireland played its part in world order and the rule of law, and he said the UN was the best effort so far.

He said that Ireland had a responsibility to try to help make the system work and to take a place on the governing authority.

But he said the council was very creaky and difficult because of the five permanent members and their vetoes.