It was to Ireland 's shame that we had not offered asylum to US whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, the president of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Canon Patrick Comerford, said yesterday.
Speaking at Irish CND's annual Hiroshima Day commemoration at the Hiroshima Cherry Tree in the park at Merrion Square, Canon Comerford said: "It is to the shame of Ireland, that neither of these modern-day heroes, holders of the banner of morality in the immoral nuclear age, has been offered asylum in this country."
Manning, a US soldier, was sentenced to 90 years yesterday following a court martial which found him guilty of passing on classified information to the WikiLeaks website.
Last week Edward Snowden, a former a US National Security Agency contractor, was granted temporary asylum in Russia after spending four weeks at Moscow airport. He is wanted in the US on espionage charges after he disclosed details of secret American surveillance programmes.
Last month it was announced that the 2013 Seán MacBride Peace Prize is to go to Bradley Manning. The prize is presented each year by the International Peace Bureau, based in Geneva. It is named after the Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Seán MacBride, a former president of Irish CND and of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva, to which Irish CND is affiliated.
Commenting on the peace prize announcement yesterday Canon Comerford said it was being awarded to Bradley Manning "for his courageous actions" in revealing information about the US.
He said: “When Bradley Manning revealed to the world the crimes being committed by the US military, he was engaging in an act of obedience to this high moral duty. Already, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”