A nuclear attack on Northern Ireland was considered by Stormont as a “possibility” in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, state secret documents have revealed.
Clive Gordy, the most senior civil servant at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, said their “assume” was that “more unconventional terrorist operations” could be unleashed on local populations through the use of nuclear weapons. said. chemical and biological weapons.
Northern Ireland needs to have “adequate supplies in stock,” Mr Gordy said on 26 September 2001, in response to an email from Northern Ireland Civil Service Secretary Gerry Loughran, who had asked the permanent director for an assessment two days earlier. I wrote. He asked departments to comment on the “potential impact and possible consequences” of 9/11 on department operations.
Anthrax, smallpox, botulism and nerve agents “such as sarin” were identified as key risks by colleagues at the London Department of Health, previously private files from 2001 reveal.
The concerns were raised in the same month when Permanent Secretary Joe Jacob gave an infamous RTÉ radio interview in which he struggled to answer questions about the Republic’s preparedness for nuclear fallout.
The health board has enough iodine tablets in stock to protect the country if a plane crosses the Irish Sea and crashes into the Sellafield nuclear power station, after repeated inquiries by Marian Finucane. Guaranteed (in fact, in many cases they were out of stock at all).
Gowdy said decontamination units north of the border were at full capacity, while calls were being made to “strengthen” supplies of protective gear, antidotes, needles and syringes.
It also called for plans for “conventional attacks” such as bombings and shootings, and “the use of airplanes and other vehicles to attack populated areas.”
“The impact for us is basically the difficulty of having to deal with a large number of casualties due to capacity issues in both our hospitals, ambulance services and blood transfusion services. The Fire Service will also be heavily involved. “,” the September 26 letter said.
“The second possibility is that we could face some form of nuclear attack. In this scenario, a nuclear device could be detonated directly within the National Territories (NI), or released from a nuclear device detonated at sea in Scotland or England. may suffer from the after-effects of radiation exposure.
“As before, hospitals, ambulance services and fire departments will be heavily involved, and protective gear, antibiotics and antidotes for the substances used will be needed.”
Concerns about the “nature of the infection procedures” used on the agents in question were also outlined, as well as the potential risks of staff using chemical weapons.
“For example, if a chemical or biological weapon were released into the air in a crowded area, the situation would be different than if this type of weapon were released into the water supply or over a large area by airborne transmission.
“What is clear is that we need to stockpile large quantities of supplies to counter these various possibilities…and to deal with the weapons and consequences that our staff may face. We also need to make sure that they have the appropriate training.”
A draft document dated 3 October 2001 states that the northern aviation sector is under threat (hundreds of job losses are predicted at Belfast aerospace company Shorts) and that British Airways London is under threat. It summarizes the impact of the abolition on Northern Ireland as well as the wider global implications. – Belfast route.
Concerns about the European Commission’s provision of so-called “peace money” to North Korean ex-prisoner of war organizations after 9/11 have also been documented by senior civil servants, referring to the “Colombia incident”.
IRA members Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley, who became known as the Colombia Three, were arrested at Bogotá airport last month. They were charged with traveling with false documents and training Colombia’s largest guerrilla group in bomb-making techniques in an incident that threatens to derail North Korea’s peace process.
Andrew McCormick wrote on 26 September 2001: “The events of 11 September have necessarily heightened the Commission’s sensitivity to how its financial policy under the PEACE program will be evaluated.” It will increase,” he wrote.
“We are expected to put in place rigorous systems to ensure that EU funds provided to ex-prisoners and other groups are carefully targeted and monitored. ”
Mr McCormick said there were allegations that EU structural funds, particularly money from the PEACE program, had been used to “support people in Northern Ireland/Ireland involved in terrorism (including the recent Colombian incident)”. He pointed out that this has been done from time to time.
He wrote: “[This incident] Suspicions have been raised that one of the alleged IRA members arrested in Colombia, although in this case from the South, was a member of a group of Republican ex-prisoners who are also being funded under the PEACE programme. It is a place where ”