07 August 2017

Ireland must continue ‘critical role’
in nuclear disarmament

Musician Junshi Morakami plays the Irish harp during the commemoration for the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bomb in Merrion Square Park, Dublin (Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times)

Patrick Comerford

My message as President of Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Irish CND) was read out at the Hiroshima Day commemoration in Merrion Square, Dublin, yesterday [6 August 2017]. The message is quoted in this five-column report on the commemoration in ‘The Irish Times’ [p 4] today [7 August 2017]:

Ireland must continue ‘critical role’
in nuclear disarmament

Hiroshima bombing victims remembered in Dublin
more than seven decades after attack

Sorcha Pollak

A daughter of survivors of the Hiroshima attack has called for the Irish State to continue its “critical role” in advocating for nuclear disarmament and achieving a world free from nuclear weapons.
Speaking in front of a cherry blossom tree in Merrion Square that was planted in 1984 [rected 1980] in memory of the victims of the bombing, Midori Yamamitsu highlighted Ireland’s “critical role” in disarmament and non-proliferation.

Ms Yamamitsu, the deputy head of Mission with the Japanese Embassy, also praised former Irish foreign minister Frank Aiken who first made the case for a nuclear non-proliferation treaty more than 50 years ago.

Ms Yamamitsu described how moved she felt following former minister for foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan’s trip to Japan earlier this year when he visited the site of the bombing in her home city of Hiroshima.

“I firmly believe that with the effort of the international community, including Japan and Ireland, and the good will of people like you who are here today, we will one day finally achieve our aim of eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world,” she told the small crowd gathered on Sunday afternoon.

The annual Dublin ceremony is held in memory of the estimated 140,000 people who lost their lives as a result of the blast on August 6th, 1945. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki and 80,000 people were killed.

Reading a speech from Rev Patrick Comerford, president of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who was unable to make Sunday’s ceremony, Dr David Hutchinson Edgar warned of the increased danger of a nuclear war.
“The frightening pace of change in the United States, dictated by late-night and early-morning tweets in the White House, not only means that the political climate in Washington is deeply disturbing, but it means the future of the world and the future of everyone is perilous,” he wrote.

“The fingers on the phone that send out those tweets late at night and early in the morning, are the same fingers that could press the nuclear button at any time of day or night.”

Sunday’s short ceremony in Merrion Square was brought to a close with music as Councillor Larry O’Toole, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin, placed a wreath of chrysanthemums by the small memorial at the foot of the cherry tree.

Chrysanthemums, he told attendees, were the first flowers to bloom in the destroyed area of Hiroshima after the bombing.

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