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'Shut Sellafield campaign is election issue'
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ALI: Delivers card to No 10

Ali Hewson challenges political parties and battles with UK energy minister

THE Shut Sellafield group is now set to challenge political parties to make the issue a central part of their General Election agendas, it emerged last night.

Buoyed by the success of the protest campaign which saw more than 1.5m postcards posted to 10, Downing Street, and also to Prince Charles the aim is now to keep the momentum going in Ireland in the run-up to voting day on May 17.

Last night, Ali Hewson who hand-delivered her own postcard to Tony Blair's residence described the reaction to the campaign as "incredible". She told the Sunday Independent: "It goes to show how strongly Irish people feel about the issue and the dangers of Sellafield."

The result has been particularly rewarding because the Broadcasting Act meant that the campaign could not be promoted on radio or TV.

Ms Hewson said: "If more than 1.5 million people in Ireland have called on the British government to shut down Sellafield, it is a challenge to Irish political parties to make sure they make it an election issue."

Ms Hewson also strongly dismissed a claim by British energy minister Brian Wilson that the campaigners were "emotive" about the issue.

She said: "If he is saying we are emotional about about the health and safety of our children, then yes, we are guilty. Our feelings and worries are based on real concerns."

Bono's wife also accused the British minister of being "pedantic" for saying she had admitted she realised Sellafield could not be closed down.

She said: "We want the reprocessing activities stopped. We want them to stop bringing nuclear waste there from all over the world."

In a statement, Mr Wilson declared: "The most irresponsible thing that anyone could do with Sellafield would be to shut it down."

He added: "The shared interest of the British and Irish peoples is that Sellafield should be run to the highest standards of safety and regulation."

The Shut Sellafield postcards delivered to 10 Downing Street bore an image of a human eye beside the words: "Tony, look me in the eye and tell me I'm safe."

Ms Hewson said after delivering her card: "A report commissioned by the European Parliament has said Sellafield has the potential to be 80 times more hazardous than Chernobyl. We are taking all the risks and yet we do not have a say in this."

Meanwhile, several hundred postcards with an image of a radioactive shamrock had arrived at St James's Palace, a spokeswoman confirmed.

However, the palace said Prince Charles would not be commenting on the campaign as it was a political matter.


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