Ireland is conducting a public review of its Foreign Policy and External Relations. Below would be some of our priorities in the context of Ireland's laudable current strategic objectives:
Ireland's focus on hunger should be particularly applauded. We would argue that hunger should be its number one foreign policy priority, given Ireland's history, its recent success pushing that agenda, the urgency of the problem, and the very strong empirical evidence and expert economic consensus that fighting hunger is among the most cost-effective public policies.
Ireland is right also to prioritise peace and human rights. However, it should focus on conflict prevention because a) is badly neglected and b) it is much more cost-effective than peace-keeping and peace-making.
Most of the worst recent civil conflicts have occured when power or wealth was distributed unequally between identifiable groups, which then fought to change or preserve that distribution (sometimes motivated by fear). That was the case in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and, most recently, in Iraq. It was also true in Northern Ireland and is true of Syria.