On 6th August 2021, the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the annual commemoration of the horrific events of that day took place in Merrion Square park, Dublin.
Opening the ceremony, Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Joe Costello, welcomed guests to the occasion and spoke of his pride in Ireland's contributions to moving nuclear disarmament forward in the international arena, most recently through Ireland's role in bringing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to reality. He welcomed the fact that as a consequence of the Treaty's entry into force earlier in the year, Ireland has divested state-held funds from companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry. He also reaffirmed Dublin's commitment to the goals of Mayors for Peace, welcoming their newly-released Vision for Peaceful Transformation to a Sustainable World.
|Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Joe Costello, speaks at the annual Hiroshima commemoration.|
Irish CND president, Canon Patrick Comerford, spoke of the futility of nuclear weapons in the face of a global pandemic, and the other crises the world faces today: global warming, cyber security and human rights abuses, all of which threaten our survival. He denounced the misguided actions of the governments of nuclear-armed states who "continue to spend money needed for health care and research on weapons that are useless against this global threat to our security and our survival."
"Nuclear weapons protect us against none of the threats we face in the world today. They never protected us against the threats the world faced in the past. And they have no place in the world as we face the challenges of the future," he concluded.
The Japanese ambassador to Ireland, Mr Mitsuru Kitano, welcomed the move by the United States and Russia to extend the New Start treaty for five years, and also acknowledged Ireland's role in international disarmament efforts. He spoke of Japan's commitment to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, and called on all states to strive towards a world without nuclear weapons.
There were contributions of reflective traditional music from violinist Niall Coakley, from the Emigrant Suite, and the slow air Táimse im' chodladh. Eriko Tsugawa-Madden read the original Japanese version of a poem by Tamiki Hara, who witnessed the atomic bombing and its aftermath, while Tony Madden read Eriko's English translation of the poem, "Give me water".
Reflecting on the torrential rain which fell in the course of the ceremony, Irish CND chairperson, Dr David Hutchinson Edgar, said, "We feel the discomfort of live-giving water falling from the sky. We cannot begin the imagine the experience of death and annihilation raining down from the sky." As the rain cleared, he continued, "Just as the rain gives way to sunshine around us today, we look to the future with hope and determination that no-one will ever have to experience what the people of Hiroshima experienced 76 years ago, the hope not just that nuclear weapons will never again be used, but that one day, soon, nuclear weapons will no longer exist."
Deputy Lord Mayor Joe Costello laid a white wreath, symbolising peace, at the foot of the cherry tree planted by Irish CND in 1980 as a living memorial, while participants observed a minute's silence in memory of all victims of atomic bombing and testing at the close of the ceremony.