PRESS RELEASE, 6 November 2010
Issued by Afri and Irish CND
Marking the International Day of Action Against Depleted Uranium Weapons on Saturday 6th November, the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Afri are urging the Oireachtas to pass without further delay the Prohibition of Depleted Uranium Weapons Bill, introduced as a Private Members Bill last year in the Seanad, where it has been approved with all-party support.
This Bill recognises the potential harmful effects on both human health and the environment of the use of radioactive components in depleted uranium weapons. The Irish parliament now has an opportunity to show international leadership by banning Irish state involvement in the production, testing and stockpiling of depleted uranium weapons, or in trading in such weapons. Ireland has already banned involvement in other weapons with indiscriminate effects, namely land mines and cluster munitions. Policy consistency, guided by principles of international humanitarian law, requires that we should also outlaw Irish involvement with depleted uranium weapons.
In addition, we believe that the Prohibition of Depleted Uranium Weapons Bill should be amended in the Dáil to extend the ban to cover investments in companies which produce nuclear weapons. This would parallel the prohibition on investment in public moneys in the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act (2008), and follow the international precedent set by Belgium which last year banned any involvement, including investment, in depleted uranium weapons.
We also call on the government to introduce similar legislation to ban Irish involvement, including investment of state funds, in nuclear weapons production, testing and maintenance. Despite Ireland’s repeated commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the National Pension Reserve Fund still has millions invested in the major arms companies responsible for nuclear weapons, some of which also produce depleted uranium weapons.