04 September 2010

Nuclear weapons challenge moral thinking on war, says CND president

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Eoghan Murphy, Ambassador Toshinao Urabe of Japan and Canon Patrick Comerford at Irish CND’s Hiroshima Day commemoration in Merrion Square

The current [September 2010] edition of the Church Review, the Dublin and Glendalough diocesan magazine, carries this half-page report and photograph on page 14:

The President of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Canon Patrick Comerford, has criticised the world’s governments for their investment in nuclear arms. Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, he said: “Sixty-five years later, we are still building more and more terrifying weapons of mass destruction.”

Canon Comerford was speaking at Irish CND’s annual Hiroshima commemoration in Merrion Square, Dublin. “Britain is one of the smallest nuclear powers in the world today – but its Trident force alone has the capacity to destroy Hiroshima 7,296 times over,” he said. “It has become difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between war and mass murder because any respect for the rights of civilians has been discarded, and the accepted principles of the just war theory have been ignored.”

“If we ignore the just war principles, enshrined in international law, we run the real danger that the conflicts of the 21st century turn into perpetual war,” he said. “Accepting the morality of nuclear weapons numbs us in a way that makes it increasingly difficult to ask these questions. And it makes it increasingly likely … that our present conflicts are turning into perpetual war.”

Councillor Eoghan Murphy, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin, laid a commemorative wreath at the memorial cherry tree.

“A fact of humanity is that we’re determined to learn through making mistakes. The great tragedy behind that fact is that some people do not learn at all,” Mr Murphy said. “In remembering this, we remind ourselves that this actually happened, and it is not just some story.”

The Japanese Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Toshinao Urabe, also spoke at the commemoration. He expressed his gratitude to Irish CND for organising the event, and praised Ireland’s perseverance in laying the foundations for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The commemoration takes place each year at a memorial cherry tree, which was planted 30 years ago in the park in Merrion Square Park on 6 August 1980.

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