07 August 2018

Hiroshima memorial reminded of nuclear dangers still facing the world

This six-column news report is published in ‘The Irish Times’ today [7 August 2018, p. 2]:

Hiroshima memorial reminded of nuclear dangers still facing the world

Elaine Edwards

It would be illegal for most US military flights to pass through Shannon airport under a new international nuclear weapons treaty which the Government is committed to ratifying, the president of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said.

Rev Prof Patrick Comerford was speaking at a commemoration ceremony in Dublin to mark the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima during the second World War.

An estimated 80,000 people were directly killed by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, with casualties reaching 140,000 within a year. About 15,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world today, according to CND.

About 40 people attended the ceremony at Merrion Square Park, where a wreath was laid at a cherry tree planted by Irish CND in 1980 in memory of those who died as a result of the bombing.

In his address, Prof Comerford said we were living in “a fear-filled and an awesome time”.

Doomsday Clock

“According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists earlier this year, the Doomsday Clock now stands at two minutes to midnight,” he said.

Prof Comerford noted that last month marked the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in Moscow, London and Washington 50 years ago on July 1st, 1968.

That process had been launched 60 years ago in 1958 by Frank Aiken, then minister for external affairs, and it remains “one of the singular achievements of Irish diplomacy, of Irish foreign policy, of Irish engagement internationally.”

Prof Comerford said Ireland was today once again at the forefront, promoting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

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