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A Thank You for Irish Nuclear Weapons Stance at UN

March 2, 2021

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Pictured outside the United Nations are (l-r): Seth Shelden, Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason, who is holding the Nobel medal, Brendan Fay and Kathleen Sullivan.

By Irish Echo Staff

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons recently came into force and as part of the “Roses to Mission Project” New York disarmament campaigners expressed thanks to leaders of each of the 52 nations who ratified the Treaty.

Ireland is one of the 52, and has been a leading advocate at the world body over the years for worldwide nuclear disarmament.

Irish disarmament campaigner, Brendan Fay, praised Ireland’s UN Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, who met with him and fellow campaigners outside the UN headquarters in Manhattan..

“With Covid restrictions we met outside the United Nations building. We thanked the ambassador for her leadership and the work of the Irish team with the passage of the treaty. As far back as 1958, led by then Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken, Ireland introduced the first of what became known as the ‘Irish Resolutions’‌‌ at the UN which eventually led to Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of 1968,” said Fay.

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Ambassador Byrne Nason, like Fay, is a native of Drogheda, County Louth.

“The commitment to a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons is a historic and long-standing priority for Ireland,” Fay said.

Highlighting the role of civil society, the Irish ambassador thanked the global movement which had campaigned for many years to bring the treaty into force.

Kathleen Sullivan, presenting roses to the ambassador, noted: “More recently, Ireland was part of a core group of UN member states advocating for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, together with Austria, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria.”

Seth Shelden, a leader with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the UN brought the Nobel Peace Prize medal which his organization received in 2017 to the meeting with Ambassador Byrne Nason outside the UN headquarters in Manhattan .

The 2017 Nobel was awarded to ICAN “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Fay said their work continues. “We are determined to make our world free of nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is wind in the sails of the global movement for disarmament,” he said. 

“I am proud and grateful for Ireland’s steady leadership in negotiations and advocacy in bringing the world a step closer to the end of nuclear weapons.”

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