Tuesday 15 October 2019

Government concerned at reports nuclear waste could be stored in Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains
The Mourne Mountains

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

THE government is concerned at reports that the Mourne Mountains is being considered by the UK as a location to store radioactive waste, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

The issue was raised in the Dáil after reports that five sites in Northern Ireland are being considered as possible storage areas for waste, including in the Co Down mountain range.

Dozens of potential sites are being considered across the UK by the state-owned Radioactive Waste Management.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan quoted the song, Mountains of Mourne in raising the issue in the Dáil.

He said: “The Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea but they also sweep down right to our waters and areas.

“What contacts have the government had with the UK authorities?

“What legislative or other measures will they intend taking to protect the people not just of Louth and wider [area]…

“This material there for millennia. What if anything are we doing about that?”

Louth Independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick also raised the issue.

He said “fear is spreading rapidly… that the UK government are considering dumping hazardous waste in the Mourne Mountains on the border of Co Louth.

“We must nip this in the bud straight away.”

He added that he hoped it is not happening because there has been no Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly for two years.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Taoiseach and Tánaiste, please help Co Louth. We had Sellafield for years. The last thing we want… is to have hazardous waste in the Mountains of Mourne beside us.”

Mr Coveney said: “We are aware of this story and are following it closely with some concern.”

He said he is meeting Northern Secretary Karen Bradly later this week will “certainly raise the issue with her.”

He added: “I think we need more details in relation to it. But I certainly take the concern of both colleagues on board.”

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