My colleague, the Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd, attended the opening day of the International Conference on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on 1 July 2013. The Conference, which will continue until 5 July, is the first time that all Member States of the IAEA have had the opportunity to attend, at ministerial level, a Conference on Nuclear Security and it is therefore a welcome step forward in multilateral engagement.
The Minister of State, Deputy O’Dowd made a statement to the Conference during the afternoon session of the opening day. In his statement, he confirmed Ireland’s policy position not to use nuclear energy for the generation of electricity but highlighted the high value Ireland puts on the peaceful use of nuclear technology. He noted that Ireland was conscious of the risks which may be associated with nuclear power and technologies, in particular the risk of malicious acts and of nuclear terrorism.
Minister of State O’Dowd stressed Ireland’s commitment to effective multilateralism as the best way of achieving and upholding the rule of law, ensuring international peace and security, and advancing international cooperation. The Minister of State noted that Ireland has been associated , from the outset, with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the multilateral basis for achieving complete nuclear disarmament, preventing nuclear proliferation, and facilitating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy subject to strict international controls and standards.
He also referred to Ireland’s positive contribution to the dialogue aimed at improving Government to Government communications on nuclear shipments, which has been underway at the IAEA since late 2012.
Finally, he concluded that it is appropriate for the international community to use the opportunity of the Conference to take stock in assessing lessons learned in the area of nuclear security; to identify those areas for further action; and to act collectively for the common good. The on-going contribution which the IAEA is making in this area is to be welcomed and Ireland offers its full support in drafting and implementing the Nuclear Security Plan for 2014 – 2017.
In terms of his international engagements during his time in Vienna, Minister of State O’Dowd and my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs had a pre-arranged meeting with the IAEA Director General Mr Yukiya Amano on 1 July. The Minister of State also met informally with representatives from Italy and Portugal. A meeting also took place with the delegation from Lithuania, which assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1 July.