Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle points to record nuclear spending 50 years after non-proliferation treaty

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said as the world reaches the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 2019 also recorded the highest expenditure on nuclear arms since the height of the Cold War.

“Global spending is about priorities, Minister,” Deputy Pringle said, addressing the Dáil on Tuesday.

He said a report published in May 2020 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons showed that the nuclear-armed nations around the world spent $73bn on their weapons in 2019.  Spending by the US was almost equivalent to the eight other states combined, the report noted.

A new treaty, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, will come into force in January of 2021, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “Why are we even talking about this, Minister?  Fifty years ago there was overwhelming agreement around the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Enough progress hasn’t been made on disarmament, so now we need another treaty.

“What difference will this make?  If the five nuclear power States, plus whatever others are involved in nuclear weaponry, haven’t disarmed and abandoned this type of weaponry within 50 years, why do we think anything will be different now?”

Deputy Pringle said the UN’s website states that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.

Still, according to the website armscontrol.org, in 2020, the estimated global nuclear warhead inventory showed that there were about 13,500 nuclear warheads, with 90 per cent of these being owned by Russia and America.

Deputy Pringle said the UN Chronicle reported that food prices have been rising steadily since 2004. He cited an article from the Chronicle that said 25,000 people each day, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. Some 854 million people worldwide are estimated to be undernourished, and high food prices may drive another 100 million into poverty and hunger.

Deputy Pringle concluded: “Why, oh why do we pander to States that prioritise boys playing with their war toys over addressing poverty, exclusion, health, climate change and well-being of citizens? It’s outrageous.”

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