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Written Answers. - Oslo-Paris Commissioners.

Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 466 No. 7

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 123. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for the Environment Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  the body that is organising the Paris Convention on the prevention of marine pollution from land based sources in 1996; the plans, if any, there are to discuss the French contribution to the radioactivity of the Pacific Ocean at Mururoa and the effects on the people of French Polynesia by the actions of the French Government in testing nuclear weapons less than six months ago; and, if not, his views on whether the Irish Government should contribute towards a convention that could be used as an exercise to mitigate the bad publicity that France received internationally by all with concern for the environment and human rights in view of the £13,000 in the 1996 Estimates to be spent on contributions to international organisations at this convention; and his further views on whether any concerns expressed by the French Government on marine pollution would now be incredulous. [12344/96]

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I assume that the Question refers to the annual joint meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions which will be held in Oslo from 17 to 21 June 1996. The Commissions, made up of representatives of each of the contracting parties, including Ireland, are responsible for supervising the implementation of the Oslo Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft, 1972 and the Paris Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources, 1974. The convention have as their objective the protection of the marine environment of the North East Atlantic and the agenda for next week's meeting reflects this regional concern.

Ireland's participation in these conventions, together with 12 other countries and the European Union, provides a valuable means to co-ordinate strategies to prevent pollution and protect the North East Atlantic. The provision of £13,000 included in the Department's Vote for 1996 is intended to meet this country's share of the annual operational budget of the Paris Commission, including administrative costs of the convention secretariat which is based on London.

As regards French nuclear testing in the Pacific, the Government has consistently raised this matter on a bilateral and multilateral basis, including at EU and UN levels. We welcome the ending [1911] of the recent series of tests and look forward to France's participation in a comprehensive test ban treaty. The Government has also expressed its concern about current nuclear testing by the Chinese authorities and urged adherence by all countries to the test ban treaty which is currently being finalised in Geneva.

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