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Nuclear company aiming to suppress protest over waste ships

5 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this morning accused the company carrying weapons grade plutonium to France of attempting to "suppress legitimate and peaceful protest against their deadly nuclear cargo". Ms McDonald also said that Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited wanted to 'deflect attention away from the severity and secrecy of their actions and onto peaceful protesters'.

Ms McDonald made her comments after it emerged that Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) and French nuclear energy firm Areva plan to seek an injunction, prohibiting people from protesting against the ships when they dock in Cherbourg, France. It is currently unclear when the ships will dock.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said: "The decision by Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited to seek an injunction to stop people protesting against the two ships carrying weapons grade plutonium represents another slap in the face to all of those who oppose their deadly voyage.

"These ships have passed within miles of the southern Irish coastline carrying weapons grade plutonium on their way to France. Not only have the lives of millions of people been put at risk, now this company is seeking an injunction to suppress legitimate and peaceful protest when they dock at Cherbourg in France.

"The intention of PNTL is quite obviously to deflect attention away from the severity and secrecy of their actions and onto peaceful protesters. The people who have gathered in Cherbourg are not irresponsible people intent on disrupting this voyage, but people who want to make a legitimate stand for the environment and against the transportation of this dangerous nuclear cargo.

"The role of the Irish government in all of this needs to be examined. Sinn Féin is demanding that Minister Roche explain why he did not seek the coordinates of the ships, given their potentially deadly cargo. We also like to know how close the ships came to the Irish coastline and what efforts the Government made to prevent them entering Irish waters.

"Sinn Féin is also anxious to know whether this was a one-off exercise, or whether we can expect to be subjected to future voyages. I am calling upon the International Maritime Organisation to investigate this incident on behalf of the Irish people, who deserve nothing less." ENDS

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