Wexford People

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Remembering Carnsore crusade

International Nuclear Free Future Awards presented at ceremony

About 1,000 people attended the Carnvaha Festival open-air concert in Carnsore Point last Saturday which co-incided with the annual presentation of the international Nuclear-Free Future Awards.

The awards scheme founded by environmental campaigner Claus Biegert in Germany four years ago, grew out of the World Uranium Hearing in Salzbur in 1992.

Carnsore was chosen as the venue for this year's presentations because of its proud association with the successful 'people power' campaign in the 1970's against a Government proposal to site a nuclear power plant in the area.

In 1978, 25,000 people flocked to Carnsore for a 3-day protest and musical event which was instrumental in persuading the Government to back down on its plan.

Last Saturday's event organised in remembrance of the original campaign was a more low-key affair but it provided a nostalgic opportunity for veterans of the protest and others to 'get back to the point', as the slogan of the time went.

One of those veterans was eighty-one years old Rosslare man, David Nolan who organised the first protest meetings with another local man, the late Harvey Boxwell. Mr. Nolan received a special Carnvaha award in recognition of his contribution to a nuclear-free future. After Carnsore, he involved himself in the Chernobyl cause.

This year, there were five recipients of Nuclear-Free Future Awards (worth 10,000 Euros each), all of whom travelled to Carnsore with their families for the presentations ceremony.

This was the first time for Australian aboriginal activist, Kevin Buzzacott to travel from his home continent. A custodian of Arabunna tribal law, he was honoured for his campaign against the uranium operations of the Western Mining Corporation near Lake Eyre.

Also honoured was Japanese photographer, Kenji Higachi whose work was on display at the Waterfront Gallery in Wexford. For almost 30 years, he has focused his camera on the silent victims of the nuclear industry.

German Green Party parliamentary member, Hans-Josef Fell was recognised for his contribution to the phase-out of nuclear power and the promotion of renewable energy sources.

Sixty-seven years old Solange Fernex, considered by many to be the mother of the French anti-nuclear movement received a lifetime achievement award.

In accepting his award, English journalist and environmental policy consultant, David Lowry urged everyone to 'oppose and expose' Sellafield.

At the close of Saturday's concert, featuring acts such as Sonny Condell, the Hothouse Flowers, Steve Cooney and Aborigine dance/music group, White Cockatoo, participants build a 'carn bheatha' or 'mound of life' from stones like the one built at Carnsore in 1978.