Galway City Council is to become a member of Nuclear Free Authorities Ireland.
Councillors voted at a meeting on Monday to become affiliated with the organisation at a cost of €610 per year and Cllr Colette Connolly, who tabled the motion, said she is “delighted” at the support of the majority of her colleagues.
The Labour Cllr said that Galway is the first local authority on the west coast to affiliate to the NFLA. There are already eight local authorities in Ireland that are members, including Louth County Council and Dublin City Council.
Cllr Connolly said that Ireland has no nuclear industry and yet its east coast and capital city are much closer to the bulk of UK’s nuclear sites, their operational discharges and possible accident fallout than many places in the UK.
“Ireland’s legal status as a ‘nuclear free’ state is extremely important to retain and Galway Council can now play an important role as part of the local government’s voice on nuclear issues and work in full co-operation with like minded councils in the UK. Ireland is also a signatory of the OSPAR (the legal instrument that directs International co-operation for the protection of marine environment in the North Atlantic),” she said.
Cllr Connolly added that the risks associated with nuclear power are being revised upwards following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
“Yet the UK government alone is intent on nuclear expansion through building 14 nuclear power stations and the possible opening of a new plutonium reprocessing facility at Sellafield that will increase the risk of radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea.”
“The NFLA promotes the combination of a renewable energy mix and energy efficiency that can provide for the energy needs for each country without recourse to new nuclear power generation.”