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Morgan attacks Government on Sellafield Issue

12 December, 2006

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Environment Arthur Morgan TD attacked the Government in the Dail today for failing to seek an explanation from the British Government for their proposals to change planning regulations that will allow nuclear objectors to be excluded from public inquiries into nuclear developments.

Deputy Morgan said, "This week it emerged that British Government are going to announce new planning regulations that will effectively allow nuclear objectors to be excluded from public inquiries into nuclear developments. The British Attorney General has been given powers to appoint government security 'vetted' special advocates to represent objectors. However, these appointed advocates will be prohibited from sharing information with their clients. This is an absolutely extraordinarily anti-democratic step to take against objectors. How is an objector to have faith in a planning system whereby the person that is supposedly representing their interests is not allowed to consult with them?

"It has been said by the Legal Advisor to the organisation Nuclear Free Local Authorities that these new planning regulations have been modelled on the practice of court hearings that have taken place with suspects held at Belmarsh Prison. They quite possibly contravene Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This legislation will dis-empower local communities and eradicate any sense of democratic accountability as well as proper public scrutiny. The Irish Government need to seek an explanation on this issue from the British Government. The Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government has previously stated that it is the Governments position that they wish to see Sellafield shut.

"I raised this issue in the Dail today and Minister Dick Roche acknowledged that they had concerns on the issue of Sellafield and that the planning process in Britain was substantially 'less democratic' than our own. However the Irish Government are not doing anything productive in the manner of actually campaigning for Britain to shut Sellafield. Minister Roche says that they are 'continuing to build allies' that are also in favour of shutting Sellafield. I put it to Minister Roche and the Irish Government that having the odd meeting with Alastair Darling is not enough. Darling is not an 'ally'. He is clearly in favour of the continued use of Sellafield and as a result of this the Irish Government must immediately change their tactics and make it clear to the British government that Sellafield and all other nuclear plants across Britain must cease to be used immediately. There are too many health and environmental dangers for it to be tolerated any longer." ENDS

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