Berehaven, British Empire, Cobh, commons, Cork, Easter Rebellion, Easter Rising, environment, Faslane, fishing industry, HMNB Clyde, Home Rule, Ireland, Irish Sea, Lough Swilly, nuclear energy, Nuclear free, nuclear power, Nuclear Submarines, nuclear waste, nuclear weapons, Parnell, plutonium, radioactive waste, Sam Maguire, Sellafield, transboundary impacts
Today marks the 100 years of the Easter Rising, which proclaimed the Irish Republic, and ultimately culminated in the Republic of Ireland. Opting out of Empire gave Ireland the chance to be nuclear free. If Ireland had not liberated itself from the yoke of the British Empire then almost certainly all or most of the UK’s nuclear facilities, nuclear waste, and nuclear subs would be located in Ireland because the UK government has generally tried to distance these facilities from London. Freedom has not, however, been able to protect Ireland from pollution of the Irish sea by the UK’s nuclear facilities and nuclear subs. On the Irish Sea, Sellafield “raises the question of how a country can try to protect it self against invading pollution from a neighboring state…” http://www1.american.edu/ted/SELLA.HTM
It is easy to guess the areas where the UK would have put its nuclear facilities and subs: “Following the establishment of the Irish Free State, three deep water Treaty Ports at Berehaven, Queenstown (modern Cobh) and Lough Swilly were retained by the United Kingdom in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921. … The main reason for the retention of the ports was the U-boat Campaign around Irish coasts during World War I and the concern of the British government that it might recur… the ports were transferred to Ireland (the Free State’s successor) in 1938 following agreements reached between the British and Irish Governments.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Ports_(Ireland)
Treaty Ports opposite Sellafield Nuclear Site and Faslane-Clyde UK Nuclear Sub site, along with Belfast Lough where one politician had the dangerous idea of stationing UK Nuclear subs if Scotland had left the UK.
“The national flag of Ireland is a tricolour of green, white and orange… It was not until the Rising of 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag“. http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Historical_Information/The_National_Flag Lost upon many appears to be the beautiful symbolism of Green for Irish Catholics, Orange for Irish Protestants and White for Peace between the two: “The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between Orange and Green and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.” (1848, Thomas Francis Meagher) http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Historical_Information/The_National_Flag/The_National_Flag.pdf
Michael Collins was introduced to the Irish Republican Brotherhood by west Cork protestant Sam Maguire. Parnell was also protestant. Thus, at the time, the flag was more than wishful thinking. (See more at post bottom)
“The Easter Rising (Irish: Éirí Amach na Cásca), also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week, April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in World War I… Although many Irishmen had volunteered for Irish regiments and divisions of the New British Army at the outbreak of World War I, the growing likelihood of enforced conscription created a backlash. The British government began suggesting that it would only implement home rule in exchange for Irish conscription. This outraged the Irish parties at Westminster, including the IPP, the All-for-Ireland League and others, who walked out in protest and returned to Ireland to organise opposition.[21 The Irish Home Rule movement sought to achieve self-government for Ireland, within the United Kingdom. In 1886, the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) under Charles Stewart Parnell succeeded in having the First Home Rule Bill introduced in the British parliament, but it was defeated. The Second Home Rule Bill of 1893 was passed by the House of Commons but rejected by the House of Lords…. The Third Home Rule Bill was introduced by British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith in 1912, sparking the Home Rule Crisis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Rising https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_Ireland_Act_1914
Sellafield, 60 miles from Ireland, Discharging Lethal Radioactive Waste to the Irish Sea
“Since [at least] 1952, Sellafield has been dumping radioactive waste into the Irish Sea. This sea is now considered one of the most radioactive bodies of water in the world. Fish, shellfish, and sea plants in the Irish Sea contain substantial amounts of radiation. This is an environmental problem as well as a trade problem. Irish fishermen often catch mutated fish that can not be sold… The dumping of nuclear waste may put human lives at risk as well. Spray from the Irish Sea turns into radioactive dust, and can be found on beaches and in people’s homes.(1) Increased rates of cancer have been reported on the east coast of Ireland and west coast of England…. Sellafield has eleven silos full of radioactive nuclear waste. Each silo contains an amount of waste eight times the amount that was released by Chernobyl in 1986.(5) If vapor happened to be released from one of these silos it could result in a disaster much worse than Chernobyl. Leaks of radioactive waste are dangerous due to its half life of 24,000 years.(6) This means that this waste will always be present in the Irish Sea…. The problems and potential dangers of current radioactive waste in the Irish Sea is a particularly sore subject for the Irish Government because its citizens do not receive benefits of the Sellafield Nuclear Plant but they do incur environmental costs. Another concern that haunts the Irish is the possibility of a failure or meltdown at Sellafield. The results of such an event would be catastrophic for the British and Irish. In Dublin, Ireland’s most populous city, over 300,000 people (almost 10% of Ireland’s population) would have to be evacuated over 40,000 square kilometers if such a disaster were to happen.(9) Since the effects of Chernobyl are still being felt and just now analyzed, the Irish Government is starting to become aware that a meltdown at Sellafield could cause long term problems for the environment and people of Ireland and England. Land would have to be left and food production would suffer for many years. Such a disaster would hurt the economy as well as the environment.” http://www1.american.edu/ted/SELLA.HTM [Perhaps as early as 1950 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield ]
“At it’s closest point to Cumbria, the Irish coast is just 60 miles from Sellafield.
The frightened people of Downpatrick, Ards, Portaferry, Drogheda, Blackrock and elsewhere have long campaigned for an inquiry into any link between their proximity to Sellafield and the high level of Downs Syndrome and other childhood illnesses in their regions.” http://www.thefreelibrary.com/If+Sellafield+is+so+safe+how+come+the+Fat+Cat+chairman+lives+240…-a084481844
While it could not protect Northern Ireland from the radioactive discharges from Britain’s nuclear weapons facility, nuclear reactors, or nuclear subs, most likely the instability of Northern Ireland, as well as the very existence of the Republic of Ireland protected northern Ireland from having nuclear facilities or subs permanently stationed there. See for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Campaign_(Irish_Republican_Army
In the Assembly of Northern Ireland:
“Daithí McKay Sinn Féin
I beg to move:
That this Assembly expresses concern at the findings of the report on the impact of the Windscale Piles accident at the Sellafield nuclear plant and the implications that this has for the health and well-being of people living on these islands and in Europe; and calls upon the Government to discontinue all operations at the Sellafield nuclear plant.
Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. Sinn Féin has brought the motion to the Assembly, not only out of concern for the public health of people who live on the east coast in places such as Antrim, Down and Louth but also because it is concerned at the threat that Sellafield poses to the well-being of people who live throughout Ireland, as well as in Britain and western Europe… Today, the Assembly has an opportunity to send a clear message to the British Government that all the major political institutions on this island want the nuclear plant at Sellafield to be shut down.
Fifty years ago, there was radioactive fallout from a major accident at the Windscale nuclear reactor. New research shows that the incident generated twice as much radioactive material and caused dozens more cancers than was previously thought. At the time, the Windscale fire was the world’s biggest nuclear disaster. The methods used to extinguish the fire could have caused an explosion, but, fortunately, they did not. Tom Tuohy, who was the deputy general manager on the site, led the team that had to contend with a nightmare that no one at that time had thought possible. He said: “Mankind had never faced a situation like this”.
However, the Windscale accident was not a one-off. Just two years ago at Sellafield, there was a leakage of highly radioactive nuclear fuel. Approximately 20 tons of uranium and plutonium — enough to make 20 nuclear weapons — dissolved and escaped through a cracked pipe. Nordic parliamentarians recently met the owners of Sellafield and told them that safety procedures at the nuclear plant needed to be tightened up. The British authorities have granted permission to resume reprocessing of nuclear waste at the THORP, which was closed several years ago because of a radioactive leak. The controversial THORP has aroused strong feelings in Nordic and Irish politicians. Ministers with responsibility for the environment from Norway, the Twenty-six Counties, Iceland and Austria have demanded that it not be reopened.
A devastating official inquiry recently found that safety alarms had been routinely ignored, operating instructions flouted and safety equipment left broken at the controversial plant. The inquiry report, one of the most damming ever of a British nuclear installation, condemned the Cumbrian complex for its “alarm-tolerant culture”. It also identified: “long-standing failings in some key safety arrangements” and a “failure to learn from previous events”. The accident at the THORP was disclosed by ‘The Independent on Sunday’ in 2005 and was the focus of the investigation. Some 83,000 litres of highly radioactive liquid leaked at the plant for at least eight months before the spill was detected… the nuclear industry has never been open with the public. Sellafield remains a significant threat to people on this island, particularly to those who live in the north-east. Ministers as well as private Members should press the British Government on the issue at every opportunity. Irish people have been living with the consequences of the fire at Sellafield for many years, and there are particularly high rates of cancer and birth defects in County Louth and south Down. Sinn Féin has called on the Irish Government to convene round-table talks on Sellafield. Those invited should include non-governmental organisations, environmentalists, campaign groups and northern European states, particularly Norway, whose representatives have been highly vocal on the issue. Assembly representatives should also be involved in such a process. An independent group has taken meter readings in the Twenty-six Counties. Recent readings show that the highest levels of nuclear contamination are to be found in areas of County Louth, County Meath and along the north Dublin coast — all are a stone’s throw away from Sellafield. A similar exercise should be carried out in the Six Counties to establish how much nuclear contamination has affected the entire east coast. Sinn Féin has consistently called for the closure of Sellafield. Reprocessing there must end immediately. It is a discredited plant and remains the most dangerous and unstable nuclear facility in western Europe. Sinn Féin will continue to fight for its immediate closure and calls on the Assembly to back the motion. Go raibh maith agat.” “Windscale/Sellafield Private Members’ Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly” at 4:15 am on 25th October 2007. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2007-10-25.3.28 (Emphasis added)
“NI state papers: Files Reveal Secret Dumping of Radioactive Waste” By Éamon Phoenix, 28 December 2013 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-25470028 While it was allegedly very short-lived radioactive waste, can one really be certain?
“If Sellafield is so safe how come the Fat Cat chairman lives 240 miles away in London; WHAT DON’T THEY LIKE ABOUT CUMBRIA?” “At it’s closest point to Cumbria, the Irish coast is just 60 miles from Sellafield. The frightened people of Downpatrick, Ards, Portaferry, Drogheda, Blackrock and elsewhere have long campaigned for an inquiry into any link between their proximity to Sellafield and the high level of Downs Syndrome and other childhood illnesses in their regions.” Read the article here: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/If+Sellafield+is+so+safe+how+come+the+Fat+Cat+chairman+lives+240…-a084481844
UK Nuclear Submarines in the Irish Sea
The British elites are so very opposed to keeping UK nuclear weapons-submarines in England, that if Scotland had had the good sense to leave the UK, England was thinking of parking its nuclear weapons-subs in the USA or France. Maybe the US should rename Kings Bay! https://news.usni.org/2014/09/16/royal-navy-faced-tough-choices-scotland-leaves-u-k
Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard passes HMS Dragon as it returns to HMNB Clyde, Scotland (The submarines are run by nuclear reactors, which like all reactors leak into the water, and they carry nuclear weapons.)
From a statement by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill: “The incident happened 16 miles off the Co Down coast on April 15 this year when the Ardglass-based prawn trawler Karen B317 was violently dragged backwards before the crew were able to release the nets. At the time, the British MoD denied having any of its submarines within 150 miles of the incident.
Minister O’Neill said: “I am appalled and astonished at the actions of the MoD. Firstly, a British Royal Navy submarine put trawlermen’s lives at risk when it snagged the nets of the Karen Band then dragged it and its four-man crew through the water. Safety at sea is paramount for the fishing industry and our fishermen should never be exposed to the type of danger faced by the crew of the Karen. I wrote to the British Secretary of State insisting this matter was raised with the MoD and that an investigation was carried out.
“Secondly, why does it take the MoD almost five months to come clean and admit what it has done? In the days after the incident, I visited Ardglass to meet with the owner Simon Wills and I heard first hand from Skipper Paul Murphy of the frightening moment he and his crew feared for their lives. I also saw for myself the damage to the boat and the profound impact the incident had on those affected.
“At the time when I raised the issue with the British government and demanded clarity, we were told the Royal Navy had a robust protocol which prevented contact between submarines and fishing vessels. We were told there was no allied submarine within 150 miles of the incident. We were led to believe this was an unsanctioned action by an unidentified nation.” https://www.dardni.gov.uk/news/o’neill-condemns-mod-over-trawler-incident (Emphasis our own)
From Nuclear Free Local Authorities:
“In early September it was confirmed by the UK Ministry of Defence that a British submarine had come into contact with the nets of the Ardglass based fishing trawler ‘MV Karen’ during an incident in April 2015. At the time, media speculation on both sides of the Irish Sea had suggested it had been a Russian submarine. The incident caused £10,000 (€13,800) damage to the boat and, but for the quick thinking of the crew in cutting the nets, could have led to fatalities. The incident took place just 18 miles off the coast of County Down. The MOD has agreed to pay compensation for the damage.
This incident raises issues over public safety – as this is not the first time such an incident has happened – environmental risk and territorial matters. It is not clear which submarine was involved in the incident and raises questions on whether nuclear-powered submarines regularly travel through the Irish Sea, rather than go across the North East Atlantic…” They further raised concerns about “the development of new nuclear power stations on the Irish Sea coast at Wylfa in Anglesey and at Sellafield Moorside. The size of these proposed sites is significantly larger than currently operating nuclear power stations. There also remains real concern over safety, marine and environmental risk.” http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/docs/events/NFLA_All_Ireland_flyer_Dundalk_October_2015.pdf
This is a good day to remember Sam Maguire:
“Sam Maguire did not fight in the Rising of Easter of 1916 … He believed that his job in the Civil Service was very important for the Cause and the best way to serve this was to remain there “as Governments carry on by post… Michael Collins often called Maguire jokingly ‘You bloody South of Ireland Protestant’ but in reality they were close friends…” http://sammaguirehomestead.ie/page/Sam-Maguire.aspx
Sam Maguire supported the total independence of Ireland, i.e. he was “Anti-Treaty”. He is “is remembered in the political sphere for recruiting the nationalist leader Michael Collins to the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1909 and for many years was one of Collins right hand men. As Collins’s chief intelligence officer in London, Maguire became the centre of Scotland Yard’s investigation into the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson. Maguire was tipped off and fled to Dublin in December 1923 where he got a job in the newly established Irish civil service. Because of his political opinions and his sympathies to the Anti-Treaty forces, he quickly clashed with his superiors and was dismissed… Cork-based Margaret Walsh, who has written Sam Maguire: The Enigmatic Man Behind Ireland’s Most Prestigious Trophy, says that “what became of him was very sad”. “In 1924, he was sacked and deprived of his pension. They (the Irish Government) gave him £100 and that was it. “In 1925, he came back to west Cork to live. He then developed TB and died in penury in 1927 aged 49. They say that he died of a broken heart and penniless,” she says. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Maguire
More on Sam Maguire: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/gaa-heroes-died-poor-and-alone-26674006.html
And, Parnell: “Charles Stewart Parnell (Irish: Cathal Stiúbhard Pharnell; 27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish nationalist politician and one of the most powerful figures in the British House of Commons in the 1880s. Born into a wealthy and powerful Anglo-Irish Protestant landowning family, he entered the House of Commons in 1875. He was a land reform agitator, and became leader of the Home Rule League in 1880, insisting on operating independently of the Liberals, and winning great influence by his balancing of constitutional, radical, and economic issues, and by his skillful use of parliamentary procedure. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol in 1882 but, a very capable negotiator, was released when he renounced violent extra-Parliamentary action. That same year he reformed the Home Rule League as the Irish Parliamentary Party, which he controlled minutely as Britain’s first disciplined democratic party“. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Stewart_Parnell
Dangerous nuclear site in the north of Scotland, placed there to be as far away as possible from London: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dounreay
Map locations exported from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNB_Clyde and from the respective Treaty Ports: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Ports_(Ireland)
Related interest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_Crisis_of_1918 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_the_United_Kingdom
Sir John Lavery “Blessing of the Colours” (cropped)
Love of Ireland by John Lavery Michael Collins laying in state
Submarine photo: NE100530248, CPOA(Phot) Tam McDonald, Credit: Crown Copyright, Source: ROYAL NAVY, Caption Writer: CPOA(Phot) Thomas McDonald Headline: Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard Passes HMS Dragon as She Returns to HMNB Clyde, Scotland. File is available for reuse under the OGL (Open Government License) Created date : 29/11/2010
1913 Poster for Gaelic League by Frances Georgiana Chenevix Trench (aka Sadhbh Trinseach, 1891–1918), colour enhanced and bottom cropped.