[Sinn Fein]

3rd September 2002

Government urged to send naval vessels to monitor nuclear shipments

Following a briefing by members of Greenpeace on board the Rainbow Warrior in Dublin today, Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment Arthur Morgan TD called on the government to send out a naval vessel to ensure that the two ships returning nuclear fuel to Sellafied do not enter Irish waters. Deputy Morgan made his call as preparations were being made for the Rainbow Warrior to join a flotilla of smaller vessels from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England to draw attention to the unwelcome presence of the two ships on the Irish Sea.

The county Louth TD said:

``While the Irish government's initiative in bringing the UK government to the International Law of the Sea Tribunal over the operation of Sellafield is welcome it must not be the only avenue they take in trying to halt operations at the BNFL plant. If we are to stop the Irish Sea being used as a nuclear highway and dumping ground more direct action is needed.

``The imminent arrival of the returned MOX fuel from Japan provides the Irish government with the opportunity of delivering not only a very direct message to the UK government but to the international community as well. They should take the lead from New Zealand, which actively supported a flotilla of small vessels against the transportation of this fuel through the Tasman Sea. Using a naval patrol vessel to ensure that these shipments do not enter Irish territorial waters would send a very powerful message around the world as well as providing a degree of safety and protection to the flotilla. The time for pussyfooting around this issue is gone. Firm action is needed not just from ordinary people but from the government itself.'' ENDS

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