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Taoiseach travels to the United Nations and Los Angeles on diplomatic and trade mission

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, today (Monday) begins a 5 day diplomatic and trade mission to New York and Los Angeles. The Taoiseach’s programme in New York is centred on the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, where he will join Heads of State and Government from around the world for a series of Leaders’ Summits.

Today, he will participate in the UN Climate Action Summit, where he will make a national statement outlining Ireland’s approach to climate action. He will tell the Summit that from next year, the Irish Government will ring fence additional revenues raised from carbon tax to fund climate action and a just transition.

The Taoiseach is expected to tell the UN General Assembly later today:

Leadership is required to take action.  And I believe leadership is also required to convince people that it is not too late to act.  It’s not. We are inspired by children and young people who have embraced this cause and keep it at the top of the agenda. We have listened to the views of our people through a Citizens’ Assembly and developed responses by consensus through an All Party Parliamentary Committee.  

Now with our Climate Action Plan we know what we are going to do. Next year, we will underpin it through new Climate Action legislation including carbon budgeting. We have a carbon tax and have a cross-party agreement to increase it to €80 per tonne by 2030. From next year, all new revenues raised from carbon tax will be ring-fenced to fund climate action and just transition. Just transition to protect those most exposed to higher fuel and energy costs and for whom new jobs must be found. Climate action to fund the transformation of our transport, electricity, buildings and food production systems. This new Climate Fund will provide billions to make change possible.

Later today, the Taoiseach will join leaders including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, President Emmanueal Macron of France and King Abdullah II of Jordan to discuss progress with the Christchurch Call to Action on tackling online terrorist content. This follows the Summit held in Paris earlier this year.

Speaking about the Christchurch Call to Action the Taoiseach said:

I also look forward to discussing the Christchurch Call to Action, an initiative to counteract terrorism and violent extremist content online, which Ireland formally adopted earlier this year. The Irish Government wants to work with our international counterparts and the major social media companies to halt the dissemination of violent extremist content online and to ensure when such material does appear, it is removed very quickly.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the Taoiseach will attend the opening session of the General Assembly, as well as a Leader’s Lunch hosted by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. On Wednesday, the Taoiseach will represent Ireland at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The Taoiseach will also have a series of bilateral meetings with other leaders to discuss issues including Brexit and Ireland’s candidature for a seat on the UN Security Council. Ireland is campaigning for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022 term. Our bid for a seat on the Council is an important element of Global Ireland 2025, the Government’s strategy to double the scale and impact of Ireland’s international presence. Ireland goes forward for election to the Security Council at roughly 20 year intervals. We are competing with Canada and Norway for one of two seats available.

All 194 Member States of the United Nations are represented at the General Assembly, making the annual meeting in September a unique opportunity to engage in and deepen bilateral relations with Heads of State and Government from around the world.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Taoiseach will travel on to Los Angeles for a two-day economic programme focused on growing tourism, trade and inward investment between Ireland and the US West Coast, with a particular focus on the creative industries.

He will open the new Consulate General of Ireland, accompanied by Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. The new Consulate is the latest in a series of new diplomatic missions being opened under the Government’s Global Ireland initiative. He will conclude his programme on Friday afternoon at an event for the local Irish Community at Loyola Marymount University.

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