06 September 2021

Hiroshima Day commemoration
hears warning on global warming

Canon Patrick Comerford (left) at the Hiroshima Day commemorations with (from left): Councillor Joe Costello, Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin; the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Mitsuru Kitano; and Dr David Hutchinson Edgar of Irish CND

Global Warming and the Covid-19 pandemic are wake-up calls that governments around the world are totally unprepared to handle the ‘truly civilisation-ending threat posed by nuclear war,’ Canon Patrick Comerford told this year’s annual Hiroshima Day commemoration.

Canon Comerford of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes (Diocese of Limerick), was speaking as President of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Irish CND), at the Hiroshima Day commemorations in Merrion Square, Dublin, on 6 August.

He warned that the world’s nuclear powers had ‘learned nothing’ and continue spending on nuclear weapons that are useless when it comes to defending their countries against the threats posed by the global pandemic and global warming.

‘Fires continue to rage across Greece and Turkey as I speak, and no amount of nuclear weapons can ever protect us against climate change and global warming, against the folly of world leaders who have brought this crisis to a head in our generation,’ Canon Comerford said. He was speaking at the cherry tree planted in memory of the victims of the Hiroshima bombing.

The spread of cyber attacks also posed a real threat, he said, warning that if hackers gained control of nuclear systems, they would have the ‘capacity to destroy all life as we know it.’

‘Nuclear weapons protect us against none of threats we face in the world today. They never protected us against the threats the world faced in the past. And they have no place in the world as we face the challenges of the future.’

Also speaking at the commemoration, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Joe Costello, warned that more than 13,000 nuclear weapons still exist in the world, most of which are more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb that killed 80,000 people instantly and another 140,000 by the end of 1945.

Mr Costello acknowledged Ireland’s work in campaigning for nuclear disarmament, including its role in negotiating the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017.

The Japanese Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Mitsuru Kitano, welcomed the move by the United States and Russia to extend the New Start treaty for five years, and also acknowledged Ireland’s role in international disarmament efforts. He spoke of Japan’s commitment to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, and called on all states to strive towards a world without nuclear weapons.

The other speakers included the chair of Irish CND, Dr David Hutchinson Edgar. Musical reflections were contributed by violinist Niall Coakley, and Eriko Tsugawa-Madden and Tony Madden read poems in Japanese and English.

This is edited version of news reports in the September 2021 editions of the ‘Church Review’ (Dublin and Glendalough) and ‘Newslink’ (Limerick and Killaloe)

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