The NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum, part of the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) organisation, warmly welcomes the formal ratification by the Irish Government of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons today, on what is the 75th anniversary of the atomic weapon attack on Hiroshima.
In an opinion piece in today’s Irish Times, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, wrote:
“On this Hiroshima Day, I am proud that Ireland today ratifies the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty, negotiated in 2017, sets a global norm prohibiting all nuclear weapons. It honours the memory of the victims of nuclear weapons and the key role played by survivors in providing living testimony and calling on us as successor generations to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Mr Coveney adds:
“Ireland’s ratification of the treaty reflects our deep concern about the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear explosion and the sheer impossibility of any adequate humanitarian response. This has led us, as a country, to our deep-rooted conviction that we must ensure nuclear weapons can never be used again under any circumstance. Nuclear disarmament has long been a feature of Irish foreign policy. Ireland is closely associated with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which remains the cornerstone for nuclear issues and which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.”
The NFLA strongly supports Ireland’s approach in this area, and the legislation to ratify the treaty received full cross-party support when it went through the Dail late last year.
NFLA are pleased that the Lord Mayor of Dublin, a Council which is a supporter of both NFLA policy and is a member of the Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe network, will today be formally attending and speaking at Ireland’s commemoration service for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic weapon attack anniversary, which takes place in Merrion Square in Dublin city centre.
This morning, the Mayor of Hiroshima, who is the President of Mayors for Peace, an organisation which NFLA work closely with, gave the 2020 Hiroshima Peace Declaration. He called for all states to move away from a ‘self-centred nationalism’, and work tirelessly instead to support the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), both of which Ireland have played a prominent role in developing.
NFLA now calls on the UK Government to stop modernising the highly expensive Trident nuclear weapons programme and to start to engage much more pro-actively with attempts to develop multilateral nuclear disarmament. That includes not actively opposing the TPNW, as it continues to do, and show a greater level of imaginative policy-thinking in relation to the NPT. On this matter, the UK should follow Ireland’s approach of promoting peace-building and peace-making.
NFLA All Ireland Forum Co-Chair, Councillor David Healy, comments:
“I welcome the Government’s ratification of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty on the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic weapon attack. It has the full support of all Irish political parties and I am sure all councillors will welcome this important act. Ireland has consistently supported nuclear disarmament and is a legally ‘nuclear free’ country. I call on the Government to continue to actively work with other states to ensure the Prohibition Treaty becomes a part of international law, as well as encouraging the UK Government and other European states to ratify the treaty. To date, in Europe, only Austria and the Vatican State has ratified this treaty. That number needs to increase as the treaty is a positive way to bring about meaningful nuclear disarmament.”
NFLA UK & Ireland Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn added:
“I warmly welcome Ireland’s ratification of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Their stance on nuclear weapons and nuclear power is one we would love to see here in the UK from our own government. As we remember the devastating impact of nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago the NFLA will remain dedicated to the goal of a world free from such weapons. Ireland’s ratification shows progress can, and is being made. That includes cancelling the expensive and unnecessary Trident nuclear weapons programme now.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for Editors:
(1) Irish Times, 6th August 2020 https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/simon-coveney-risk-of-nuclear-catastrophe-is-unacceptably-high-1.4322906
(2) Hiroshima Peace Declaration 2020, 6th August 2020 https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/hiroshima-peace-declaration-2020-mayor-kazumi-matsui-hiroshima-president-mayors-for-peace/