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Nuclear power needs to be consigned to history – Morgan

19 June, 2007

Responding to calls from new Green Party Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan for a debate on nuclear power Sinn Féin's Environment Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said, "Nuclear power needs to be consigned to history." Deputy Morgan reiterated Sinn Féin's opposition to nuclear power and said the party would use any debate on the issue to argue for a radical shift towards efficient and cost-effective renewable energy with particular emphasis on solar and wind power.

Deputy Morgan said, "While I welcome any debate on attempting to address Ireland's energy concerns, the debate should be more focussed on using less energy in the first place. Western countries in particular continue to increase their energy consumption and this is unsustainable. So-called economic growth fuelled by consumerism should not be allowed to take precedence over environmental concerns.

"Sinn Féin believes as an island we should be availing more of wind and wave power and utilising that great energy power plant in the sky - the sun. It is imperative that we reduce our needs through reduction to match the supply of safe energy.

"Nuclear power needs to be consigned to history. There are grave environmental and health risks associated with nuclear power. We in Ireland, who welcome thousands of children affected by the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl for holidays every year, have a clear indication of the unacceptable risks connected to nuclear power. Plus there is no long-term solution regarding how to dispose of nuclear waste. The existence of nuclear plants also pose serious risks to international security.

"There is no question that climate change and energy security need to be addressed, especially in the context of diminishing world oil supplies. However it is important that we tackle these in a viable, realistic and environmentally friendly manner. It is glaringly obvious that we need cheaper, more effective and more secure alternative energy sources in tandem with a government-led approach encouraging people to conserve energy.

"I am both surprised and disappointed at Minister Ryan joining the chorus of pro-nuclear lobbyists who have been trying without success to open a pro-nuclear debate. I hope Minister Ryan will fail as gloriously as the others."


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