The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) All Ireland Forum holds its autumn seminar this Friday 30th October in Dundalk Town Hall, County Louth. (1)
The meeting is particularly concentrating on concerns over collisions and near collisions between UK nuclear powered submarines (possibly Trident submarines) and Irish fishing trawlers around the Irish coast. Two recent incidents include the collision of a UK nuclear submarine with the trawler ‘MV Karen’ 18 miles off the County Down coast port of Ardglass. A major and potentially fatal incident was only averted by the quick thinking of the crew in cutting their nets. Four months after the incident the UK Government admitted it had been a UK nuclear submarine involved in this incident and it has agreed to pay compensation for the damage caused to the trawler.
Shortly afterwards, the captain of a Donegal based trawler reported a near collision close to Tory Island off the Donegal coast. The captain remarked this had been the second near collision that the boat had experienced this year. (2)
Local South Down MP Margaret Ritchie will be speaking at the NFLA seminar outlining her concerns over these incidents and the questions she, and other MPs, has been asking in Parliament. Independent marine environment consultant Tim Deere-Jones will also be providing a context to such incidents, considering other similar incidents in the Irish Sea and North Atlantic over recent years.
The seminar will also provide Irish councillors with an update on the UK new nuclear build debate and the potential risks to Ireland if nuclear reactors are built at Hinkley Point, Wylfa and Sellafield Moorside. The NFLA Secretary will also outline its energy vision provided to the UK Parliament and in anticipation of the Irish Government’s Energy White Paper.
Finally, the seminar will also hear how the NFLA has been invited to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Radiation Advisory Committee. Dr Paul Dorfman of the University College London Energy Institute and a former member of the UK CERRIE (Committee Examining Radiation Risks in the Environment) Committee is the NFLA’s nominated representative and will talk about the committee’s remit and NFLA’s wider concerns around low level radiation exposure and its effect on human health.
NFLA All Ireland Co Chair Councillor Mark Dearey said:
I am pleased to have such high quality speakers at the NFLA All Ireland Forum meeting in Dundalk. I am concerned for the environmental and safety dangers to such collisions between UK submarines and Irish fishing trawlers and am interested to hear how extensive a problem it may be. The seminar is an opportunity for councillors in Ireland to come together and challenge the UK Government on why such submarines are coming so close to the Irish coastline. It is also an opportunity to understand the risks to Ireland from the UK’s nuclear programme and how NFLA are helping to provide an alternative energy vision made up of decentralised low carbon energy, community orientated renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes. I urge councillors and council officers from across the island to attend it.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244 or 07771 930196 or Tim Deere-Jones can be contacted on 01834 871011.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA All Ireland Forum meeting, Dundalk Town Hall, Friday 30th October
10.30am Registration, tea and coffee.
11.00am Opening welcomes by Councillor Mark Dearey, Louth County Council and Co- Chair of the NFLA All Ireland Forum
11.05am Ardglass trawler and submarine collision: safety, environmental and territorial issues – Tim Deere-Jones, independent marine environment consultant
11.35am The political implications to the Ardglass trawler incident – Margaret Ritchie MP for South Down
12.00pm New nuclear build in the UK – a risk to the island of Ireland? Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary
12.25pm NFLA’s independent role in the new Environmental Protection Agency Radiation Advisory Committee – Dr Paul Dorfman, University College London and NFLA representative on the committee
12.50pm Panel discussion
1.15pm Seminar concludes
(2) NFLA Media Release, 10th September 2015