Dáil Éireann - Volume 457 - 18 October, 1995

Written Answers. - Nuclear Tests.

55. Mr. O'Donoghue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he or the Government were made aware by the French or Chinese of their intention to carry out nuclear testing prior to the signing by Ireland of the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13065/95]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): On 11 May 1995, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, which brought together 175 States Parties including Ireland, agreed: that the Treaty, which was ratified by Ireland in 1968 and entered into force in 1970, shall continue in force indefinitely; that the process of review and implementation of the Treaty shall be strengthened; and a set of principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

In the context of principles and objectives, the conference agreed a programme of action which included the completion no later than 1996 of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It was also agreed that, pending the entry into force [434] of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the utmost restraint should be exercised by the nuclear weapon states. France and China were among the States Parties who subscribed to this decision and the commitments to which it gives rise.

The Government received no advance notification, prior to the conclusion of the NPT Review Conference, from either the Chinese or French Governments of their intentions to carry out further nuclear tests.

The Government has made known to this House on a number of occasions, most recently on 20 September and 3 October, its views on French and Chinese nuclear testing, and the actions it has been taking in this regard.