[Sinn Fein]

19th April 2002

Shut Sellafield death plant now

South Dublin Councillor Seán Crowe today accused the British government of overwhelming arrogance and willful contempt for the concerns of Irish people, with its refusal to close the Sellafield death plant.

``Already this month, it has been revealed that there has been yet another leak at Sellafield,'' said Crowe, ``with Radioactive Technetium 99 from the 1950s found in groundwater samples beside the complex's main gate. This toxic material, with a half-life of over 200,000 years, is the same substance that has entered the marine food chain in the Irish Sea.

``The British Nuclear Installations Inspectorate also revealed for the first time that radioactive material has been found in ground outside the site.

``The Irish people are of one on this issue. Sellafield must be closed,'' said Crowe.

``Hundreds of thousands of Irish people are sending postcards to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the head of British Nuclear Fuels Norman Askew and Charles Windsor to mark the 16th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Sinn Fein is 100% behind this campaign, spearheaded by Ali Hewson.

``It is disappointing that Tescos, alone of the major supermarket chains, have refused to stock the postcards. I would urge Irish consumers to use their spending power to send a message to this British multinational.

``I welcome the fact that the Irish government has at long last moved to take legal action against the British government, but it took the further expansion of Sellafield with the decision to build the new MOX reprocessing plant to finally move the establishment here to act.

``Sellafield, aka Windscale, has an atrocious history of leaks, accidents and cover-ups. The British government has behaved arrogantly and irresponsibly and has blatantly ignored the well founded concerns of Irish citizens. There must be no letup in the campaign of Irish people, at all levels of society, against this catastrophic nuclear timebomb on our doorstep.''

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