21st April 1999
Sellafield must Close
Speaking at the launch of the party's candidates for the EU election, Sinn Fein candidate for Leinster Arthur Morgan said:
We in Sinn Fein are often portrayed, and falsely so, as being a single issue party. The reality is that myself and republicans the length and breadth of this island have been to the forefront of campaigns on the entire range of social, political, and economic issues that directly effect ordinary people, and none of these are more important than environmental issues.
Over the years we have consistently campaigned, lobbied and demonstrated to have British Nuclear Fuels Sellafield nuclear plant shut down once and for all. I firmly believe that the poison emanating from that facility has caused the premature deaths of hundreds of Irish men, women and children. For the long term sake of our Eastern seaboard and for all our sakes in the event of a nuclear disaster, this plant should be decommissioned.
Sinn Fein members have been particularly active around the country in recent years on the issues of mobile phone masts, ESB pylons, and incinerators. The siting of such erections has become a major bone of contention, and it has produced the greatest display of people power since the campaigns against the unjust service charges. Parents are not willing to take health risks on behalf of their children just so that Eircell can have nationwide coverage times three or because an incinerator is seen as a quick and lucrative fix to what is in actual fact a very complex waste management problem. After all, why encourage recycling and responsible behaviour when you can burn and be paid to burn all sorts of commercial waste also.
Our environment has suffered enough at the hands of polluters without adding to that pollution at a time when we have greater access than ever to information about the folly of such wasteful and destructive acts. Instead, we are being told that genetically modified foods are good for us, despite the scientific debate still raging about whether or not this is a legitimate claim.
We are no Luddites in Sinn Fein. We do not oppose progress, but we do oppose unthinking destructive acts fuelled by the quest for a quick buck. We believe that attitudes towards protecting our environment have to change, both as a nation and globally, if we are to sustain a bright future for our children.
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