Ireland winning one of the non-permanent seats on the UN's Security Council (UNSC) is clear recognition of our capacity for peacekeeping, peace-building and humanitarian engagement at the tactical, operational and strategic policy levels.
As such, this is a great political and diplomatic coup for a country of our size. There is much to be pleased about and much to be careful about moving forward.
The priority during Ireland's tenure on the UNSC will be about maintaining international security and stability by upholding the values of partnership, empathy and independence.
Ireland has held a non-permanent UNSC seat on three previous occasions, the first being in 1962, which resulted in Ireland, under the stewardship of then minister for external affairs Frank Aiken having a direct effect on nuclear disarmament.
Such was Ireland's influence on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 that Aiken was one of the first invited to sign it.
That first seat, won under Aiken, was initially thought to have been a chance to advance the anti-partition argument, but the British, being a permanent member of the security council, had a veto.
So instead, Ireland turned to issues of anti-colonialism.
The Irish delegation was also to focus on peace in the Middle East, using the then good relations our country enjoyed with Israel and various Arab states to pursue detente.
Without the seat at the council, Aiken would never have been able to push his disarmament initiative that led to the non-proliferation treaty.
This was to give our country a distinct voice and identity with an international flavour, and elevate us beyond being purely local influencers at UN assemblies.
That we were able to successfully compete for a seat this time with peacekeeping and humanitarian giants such as Norway and Canada is due to hard work done long before the campaign for this seat began.
This also explains how we pulled it off without spending as much money on the campaign as our two competitors.
A lot of references to our success will focus on the peacekeeping prowess of our Defence Forces.
Indeed, it was appropriate that we secured the UNSC seat during the same week that 12 years ago saw Irish troops come under and return fire during an EU-led, UN-mandated peace enforcement mission in Chad.
The Chad mission sums up much of what made us stand out to the UN membership. At a tactical level, the actions of Irish troops and their European comrades required them to interpose themselves during firefights between Chadian rebels and government forces.
This was done at great risk and could not have been achieved without a high degree of operational readiness and with over-the-horizon military assets, such as air and intelligence support from the French.
What UN members would have noted however, was Irish forces were not only capable on the ground, but that we could lead at the upper operational levels too.
General Pat Nash of our Defence Forces was the overall commander of this mission, leading a multinational team from a specialised state-of-the-art HQ near Paris set up especially for the purpose.
The fact this mission happened at all was largely due to Ireland's effectiveness at crafting and influencing policy within the EU to allow for creation of EU military and civilian instruments for conflict management, which could be called on by the UN for use on their missions.
This expertise of tactical, operational and policy expertise is seldom found at a high level in small states. We have been on this trajectory since our involvement with the UN in the Congo.
We should also remember that security is not purely the preserve of the military - the establishment of Irish Aid and its support of UN humanitarian operations worldwide; and the creation of activities and working groups in support of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, have been operational supports and policy influencers that helped create the network of support for Ireland winning her seat.
However, it has largely been the input of our Defence Forces that provided the solid platform that allowed all those other activities to develop with credibility.
Many countries have influenced policy due to having deep pockets, but our policy influence largely came from putting boots on the ground in dangerous places that saved the lives of the innocent and sometimes resulted in Irish deaths.
But there have been own goals. The current neglect of our Defence Forces is a key one, not just the poor pay and conditions, but other operational requirements have also been neglected.
Regarding our objectives going forward, multilateralism will be a key feature of our tenure with the security council.
If Ireland contributes only to focusing international attention on restoring the battered mechanisms of multilateral co-operation on conflict management and emergency humanitarian response, then our time in the hot seat will have been well spent.
Declan Power is an independent security and defence analyst with wide experience of UN peacekeeping and humanitarian missions