Several effects of irradiation on the 92 K - oxide superconductor YBa[sub 2]Cu[sub 3]O[sub 7] are reported. Whatever irradiation type, the critical temperature T[sub c] is found to decrease and the resistivity to increase. At sufficiently high damage levels, YBa[sub 2]Cu[sub 3]O[sub 7] is no longer superconducting and even displays a semiconducting-like behaviour. The alterations of superconducting properties are clearly related to oxygen defects - in the CuO[sub 2] planes or CuO chains... but we have shown experimentally that copper defects are also important. Magnetic properties of YBa[sub 2]Cu[sub 3]O[sub 7] in mixed state are also very sensitive to irradiation. By pinning the flux lines, irradiation defects can considerably increase the critical current density j[sub c]. At present, irradiations by highly energetic heavy ions (6 GeV Pb for instance), which produce cylindrical tubes of amorphous material (latent tracks) throughout the whole thickness of the samples, are probably the most efficient way to enhance j[sub c]. (Author). 18 refs., 7 figs.