TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar will deliver an address to the United Nations at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in New York later today.
The summit honours the 100th anniversary of Mr Mandela’s birth and was set up by South Africa with the assistance of Ireland.
Mr Varadkar will speak a day before US President Donald Trump is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly.
Today’s summit offers the Taoiseach the opportunity to meet with world leaders and UN officials which could improve Ireland’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 term.
Mr Varadkar is expected to reference the Northern Ireland peace process and mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in his address.
This year also marks 60 years of unbroken UN peacekeeping service by Irish men and women.
Speaking in advance of the Summit, the Taoiseach said: “I’m looking forward to returning to the United Nations this week to participate in the Nelson Mandela peace summit. This event marks an important opportunity to reflect on Mandela’s legacy. It’s not only a celebration of his life, but also a moment for the global community to see how Mandela’s commitment to peace, reconciliation and human rights, can help us to meet the challenges we face today.”
Tanaiste Simon Coveney, who travelled to New York with the Taoiseach, will speak to the United Nations General Assembly.
Elsewhere, in Washington D.C, Irish Heritage Day was marked by Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall who threw the first pitch at a baseball game at Nationals Park.
Money raised from the day is used to fund St Patrick’s Day parades around the US.