Belfast Telegraph

Keep Trident out of the Foyle, council tells MoD

By Donna Deeney

A letter warning the Ministry of Defence against ever bringing Trident to Lough Foyle has been formally passed by Derry City and Strabane District council.

Councillors voted to write to the MoD after Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson suggested that if Scotland didn’t want the nuclear weapons in its waters then the Foyle could be used.

Normal council committee business was suspended while the proposal made by Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly to reinstate the nuclear-free zone policy of the former Derry City Council.

Councillor Reilly explained why he thought it was necessary to bring the motion to Council.

He said: “Comments made by Jeffrey Donaldson about taking Trident if Scotland decided against it, which were initially thought to have been made tongue in cheek, turned out not to be so when the DUP said it would become party policy.

“I thought it was necessary to reaffirm the nuclear-free zone policy of Derry City Council but Councillor Martin Reilly of the SDLP then suggested we write to the MoD and state formally that we would not want Trident in Derry.

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“Jeffrey Donaldson suggested that 10,000 jobs would be created by Trident being here, but it is not about accepting jobs at any cost, even in an area of such high unemployment as Derry.

“That went to the vote and won the support of Sinn Fein, SDLP and all of the Independent councillors while the DUP and unionist councillor all abstained.”

Mr Donaldson offered Lough Foyle amongst other waters in Northern Ireland  during a debate in the House of Commons last week during which David Cameron outlined the government’s £178bn defence-spending plans for the next decade.

It followed comments by SNP Moray MP Angus Robertson, who said an overwhelming majority of MPs and civic organisations are opposed to Trident.

Taking to his feet, Mr Donaldson said: “With support for the Union in Northern Ireland growing ever stronger, may I help to assuage the concerns of the Right Honourable Member for Moray by saying that we have lots of loughs and lots of ports, and that if the Government ever need a new home for Trident, Ulster is there.”

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