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Mary Robinson believes Ireland could help tackle sexual exploitation with UN Security Council seat

Ireland's two-year campaign to win a seat on the UN Security Council is underway after the official launch in New York overnight.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney stressed how our history of peacekeeping could bring a unique voice to the council.

Also, former President Mary Robinson suggested that Ireland could play a role in preventing sexual exploitation.

Ireland's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council was formally launched in New York last night.

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney laid a wreath at the UN headquarters in New York to commemorate Irish peacekeepers who lost their lives while on UN service. Pic: Daniel McConnell

Ms Robinson was one of those strongly supporting Ireland getting a seat in 2021.

She said: "I honestly and definitely believe we can serve again for a rules-based, multilateral system that is so vital to the world."

She also criticised some of the permanent members of the council like the US and Russia for using a veto on serious issues.

Among the issues she wants tackled is sexual exploitation, which was described as an act of war.

U2 star Bono also addressed the launch, criticising Donald Trump's government for pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

He said: "Not just these institutions, but what they've achieved is at risk."

The bid for a seat on the council has now been launched, with a two-year campaign ahead