MEP McKenna arrested at Scottish base


Green Party MEP Ms Patricia McKenna has been arrested along with 12 Irish students as they were blockading the Trident submarine base in Faslane, Scotland.

They have been taken to Clyde Bank Police station where a report will be prepared and sent to the Procurator Fiscal who will then decide whether or not to press charges.

Close to 1,000 people gathered at the north and south gates of the base, where four Trident nuclear submarines are stationed, early this morning as part of an ongoing protest at the site organised by CND Scotland.

The protest is continuing this afternoon and the main gates into the base remain closed.

According to a Strathclyde police spokesperson, over 150 people have so far been arrested. The Irish students were part of a group of 75, representing the environmental action group Gluaiseacht.

MEPs have immunity from arrest when travelling to and from meetings at the European Parliament. Ms McKenna is due to go to Strasbourg later today and will use this opportunity to test her immunity.

The President of the Green Group in the European Parliament, Ms Heidi Hautala, is to raise Ms McKenna’s arrest in Faslane this evening. The party hopes this will initiate a debate in the European Parliament on the legality of nuclear weapons.

"I believe that governments that pay for, and promote, nuclear weapons are breaking the law and by protesting I am upholding international law," Ms McKenna said.

A recent decision by the International Court of Justice ruled that the possession of weapons of mass destruction was against international law.

She condemned the British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair’s "double-speak" and said: "If he really wants to make the world a safer place as he recently proclaimed, he should first stop harbouring weapons of mass destruction".

"Anyone truly committed to getting rid of nuclear weapons, including public and government representatives should be at Faslane today to demonstrate, especially the Irish Government. They claim they are opposed to nuclear weapons but they have never acted or demonstrated against them at any level," Ms McKenna said.