[Sinn Fein]

15 January 2000

Depleted uranium shells dumped in Irish Sea

Sinn Fein has called for an Irish Government investigation into weekend reports that depleted uranium shells have been dumped in the Irish Sea by the British Ministry of Defence.  There are fears in several European countries that depleted uranium shells are linked to cancer deaths among Balkans and Gulf War veterans.

Sinn Fein's call comes after revelations (Evening Herald, Saturday) that 1,400 tank-busting depleted uranium (DU) shells have been fired into the sea off the coast of Scotland and at a land range just seven miles from Sellafield.

Sinn Fein's European Affairs & Neutrality spokesperson, South Dublin County Councillor Seán Crowe, said:

``The British Government insists there is no contamination risk with DU shells.  Last week, NATO troops investigating a site where a Yugoslav tank had been hit by a DU shell were photographed wearing white radiation suits and masks.  Why?  Whitehall has been doing somersaults under pressure from Balkans and Gulf veterans and by an internal report exposing their own health fears so we should take their assurances with a pinch of salt.

``The Irish Government must launch an immediate investigation into the extent of the British military's dumping of DU shells in the Irish Sea, the quantities, the time scale, their condition and what measures are being taken to safeguard the health of Irish people and our environment.''  ENDS

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