[Sinn Fein]

19th October 2001

"Decommission Sellafield" demand to Blair

Speaking today (Saturday) at a major conference organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in London Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called for a campaign of 'people power' on both sides of the Irish Sea to demand the closure of the Sellafield nuclear plant. The TD said:

"Sellafield is a most serious and immediate danger to all the people of Ireland and Britain - a potential Chernobyl in our midst. When he approved the decision to open a MOX (mixed oxide fuel) plant at Sellafield earlier this month Prime Minister Tony Blair was guilty of an act of bad faith and disregard for the Irish people on a par with anything done by his predecessors in the long and sorry history of Anglo-Irish relations.

"The demand for the complete closure of Sellafield is now growing as people realise the threat posed to all of us by an attack on the plant similar to September 11th. That is a real danger.

"But if September 11th had never happened Sellafield should still be closed down. It has turned the Irish Sea into the most nuclear-polluted stretch of water in the world. British Nuclear Fuels Limited has repeatedly lied and deceived about the safety of the plant. In July 1999 they sent a cargo of MOX fuel to Japan and falsified quality control standards, resulting in the rejection of the cargo by the Japanese government. That cargo is to return to these islands within months, destined for Sellafield.

"I take this opportunity to call for a united effort by people on both sides of the Irish Sea to have Sellafield shut down. This plant endangers the lives of people in Britain as much as in Ireland. We must deploy people power to get rid of Sellafield. Our message to Tony Blair must be loud and clear: ODecommission your dirty and deadly nuclear industry now!"

The Sinn Fein TD also supported calls at the conference for the British and US government to heed the appeals of international aid agencies and end the bombardment of Afghanistan so that humanitarian relief can reach millions of people now threatened with starvation.

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