25 August 2012

‘Gazette’ report on Hiroshima Day commemoration

This week’s edition of The Church of Ireland Gazette [24 August 2012] carries this front-page news report and photograph. The report says:

‘Nuclear weapons morally abhorrent’
says Canon Comerford, Irish CND President

“The notion that any State could claim to be interested in democracy, peace, stability and progress while promoting, developing or threatening to use nuclear weapons is not just beyond credibility – it is morally abhorrent,” according to the President of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Canon Patrick Comerford, who was speaking at this year’s recent Hiroshima Day commemorations at Dublin’s Merrion Square.

“There is no morality in a political system that depends for its survival on the threat to destroy the survival of all,” the Church of Ireland Theological Institute lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy told the gathering.

The other speakers were the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Clare Byrne; the Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Japanese Embassy of Ireland, Kojiro Uchiyama; and the Chair of Irish CND, Dr David Hutchinson-Edgar.

Canon Comerford said that in the current economic crisis, “where millions and millions of people around the world are living in poverty, without access to the bare necessities of life, more than $1 trillion a year is spent on weapons and €100 billion of that is spent on nuclear weapons. In a world racked by poverty, this is a moral outrage.”

He said there were more than 23,000 nuclear weapons in place today, “despite the fact that the Cold War is long over and almost forgotten. For as long as these weapons continue to exist, the threat they pose to humanity remains.”

He added that while the Irish Government’s foreign policy strongly endorsed nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, “these commitments are not matched by Irish financial policies”.

Canon Comerford pointed out that the National Pension Reserve Fund, according to its 2011 report, had investments of at least €23 million in international arms companies that produced single-use components for the nuclear weapons industry, and that AI B, which is in majority State ownership, lent $28m to a US company involved in the nuclear weapons industry in 2010.

“People are being refused mortgages, small businesses are being bled to death because their overdraft facilities are being called in, but Irish money is available to make nuclear weapons. This is outrageous,” he stated.

“Other countries that play a leading role in support of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament – such as Norway and New Zealand – prohibit the investment of State funds in companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry,” Canon Comerford said. “There is a similar ban in Ireland on investments in companies engaged in the landmine and cluster munitions industries. Why is the Government not ensuring a similar ban when it comes to the nuclear weapons industry?”

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