Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has said that Irish interests must be protected in the event of the UK Government withdrawing from the EURATOM group.

Since 1957, this organization has ensured the peaceful use and development of nuclear energy on the continent of Europe.

“The UK leaving EURATOM will have wide-ranging implications for the future of its nuclear industry and the 20 nuclear co-operation agreements it has with other nations.

“Make no mistake about it, this is a huge issue for Ireland and the rest of Europe. As it stands, all of the UK’s co-operation agreements are predicated on the EURATOM safety standards.

“As soon as the UK leaves EURATOM, they will cease to apply in the UK, unless steps are taken to prevent this. That has huge ramifications for the overall safe functioning of the UK’s existing and planned nuclear facilities.

“Ireland cannot, and must not, accept any dilution of standards at UK nuclear sites.

“We have, within and outside of government, fervently campaigned against the continued operation and expansion of the Sellafield plant, and been to the fore in promoting correct safety precautions on both sides of the Irish Sea.

“As the United Kingdom proceeds with plans to construct a new nuclear power plant in Hinkley Point, a potential exit from EURATOM has never been more relevant.

“Located about 250km from Rosslare, Co. Wexford, it’s essential that the strongest possible regulation and oversight on the UK’s nuclear industry is achieved post Brexit.

“Minister Naughten must engage with his UK counterpart to ensure that Ireland’s safety and concerns are not forgotten or ignored. He, and the rest of government, should be working proactively and constructively at every step to ensure that our best interests are preserved,” concluded Dooley.