Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit – ULA TD, speaking on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues in the Dáil today, highlighted some of the obstacles which stand in the way of non-proliferation.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the hypocrisy of nuclear-capable states dictating to other states about their nuclear ambitions was a major obstacle to the development of a program which could effectively bring about the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons worldwide.
Moreover, he noted that in a time of economic recession it was all the more absurd for states to spend tax payers’ monies on armaments or give monies to states which have a nuclear weapons program. He was principally referring to the US’s annual endorsement of Israel’s military to the tune of $4 billion.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The idea that any state in the world which claims to be interested in democracy and peace could simultaneously pursue nuclear armament or promote it in any other state is appalling.”
“The madness of nuclear armament is even more starkly highlighted in the current economic climate that the world faces, where millions upon millions of people, even within the EU, are living in poverty and without sufficient public amenities. Some states claim to not have sufficient funding to alleviate poverty while happily spending money on arms.”
“Every effort must be made to prevent states that do not yet have nuclear weapons from developing them. However, any claim to be serious about preventing nuclear proliferation have little credibility as long as we fail to deal with the issue of double standards practiced by the main nuclear states: the US, Russia, China, Britain and France. All smaller states which have developed nuclear weapons have done so with aid, either explicit or tacit, from the main nuclear powers.”
“In the context of the Middle East, it is hypocritical and ineffectual to place demands on Iran that it not develop nuclear weapons if we do not place the same demands on Israel to dismantle the hundreds of nuclear warheads which it already possesses.”
Richard Boyd Barrett also highlighted the issue of nuclear waste disposal, which in the case of Israel’s secretive nuclear program, is thought to be disposed of in areas close to Gaza and Hebron: “Israel is suspected of burying nuclear waste from its Dimona research reactor at a location on the occupied West Bank, south of Hebron, where alarmingly high levels of radioactivity have been measured and where the population suffers from a variety of mysterious health problems and birth defects.”
“Israel is one of the few countries in the world which has not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty and yet it is Iran – a state which has signed that Treaty – which is persistently sanctioned and threatened with war over its purported nuclear ambitions.”
“Just last month, the US House of Representatives Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved an additional $1 billion for Israel’s anti-missile defense programs. This brings the total US tax-payer annual subsidy to Israel to $4 billion – some of which is inevitably directed towards Israel’s nuclear program.”
“In Iran $117 per capita is spent on armaments while in Israel that figure is $2133 per capita. And yet it is Iran which is under scrutiny, and not Israel.”
Concluding, Boyd Barrett TD said: “Ireland’s credibility as a pioneer for nuclear disarmament is undermined by our continued support for military war planes using Shannon airport, and by our continued production in this country of weapon components and parts.”