"Hands off Sellafield!"

So said Sir Robert Atkins MEP (North West) in a debate in the European Parliament last evening (22/10) in response to Irish attempts to close down the West Cumbrian BNFL Plant and to question the Lancashire Springfields operation. (Click here to see speech)

"Four Irish MEPs representing Fine Gael, Fianna Foyle, the Greens and the Socialists launched a wholly unmerited attack on the UK Government's long-overdue decision to implement the MOX Plant at Sellafield" commented Sir Robert. "They want the plant closed down on the new spurious grounds that it is now a terrorist threat and I was not prepared to sit back and let them try to destroy the economic and employment prospects of my constituents."

"I reiterated the stance that I took when I was Northern Ireland Minister for energy" continued the Tory MEP, "namely that the safety and environmental record of BNFL is as good as any company in any other industry and that Ireland had nothing to fear."

Sir Robert said that the Irish MEPs were also critical of the Springfields location in Lancashire suggesting that it too was treating the Irish Sea as an effluent dumping ground.

"They are just using the current terrorist threat as an excuse to make political capital in Ireland at the expense of British jobs and expertise and they should understand that they are not going to win this one."

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