Sir, - This month we commemorate an event which the UN, called the "greatest environmental disaster in history". Perhaps the Irish people know better than most what a great human disaster, also followed in the wake of the Chernobyl accident. Appalling and all as the Chernobyl explosion was and is, and will be, for thousands of years to come, it is important to remember, that "Reactor No 2" was not designed to explode. Nuclear bombs are, however. They are made for use against open cities. They are designed to kill by the million. Every nuclear bomb is a war crime waiting to happen.

Politicians like Professor James Dooge, Ray Burke, Patricia McKenna, Kathleen Lynch and others were therefore right to point up the most glaring omission in the White Paper on Foreign Policy. The White Paper failed to underline the absolute unacceptability of our joining a nuclear weapons based army or armies.

Instead, the White Paper appears to actively suggest that we form just such an alliance. The so called Partnership for Peace and the "Petersburg Tasks" are off shoots of NATO and its "no clear pillar in Europe, the Western European Union (WEU). Neither of these bodies are subject to UN command and so presumably could act without the sanction of - and even in defiance of - the UN membership, therefore, would herald a major, departure in Irish foreign policy and unavoidable erosion of Ireland's military neutrality.

In general, most of the White Paper's defence "concerns" beg the obvious question - one that all Ireland seems to be asking why the need for an EU military bloc at all? (Just who is threatening, much less attacking, Europe?) This question is all the more puzzling when one considers that the vast majority of the world's nations do not feel the need to belong to any military bloc at all? ,It is time the Government explained what exactly they are talking about.

It is also time the people of Ireland were given the opportunity to protect Irish neutrality in the Constitution. The Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament calls on the Government to initiate a referendum to this end. - Yours, etc.,

National Chairperson,

Irish CND,

Bellevue Park,

St Lukes,