• February 27, 2010

The Celtic League has asked the Irish government to press the UK on the whereabouts of several hundred canisters of CR Gas which was held in N. Ireland in the 1970-80s and has now `disappeared’


The League say chemical disposals of this type should take place under controlled circumstances and the fear is that the CR with its highly carcinogenic constituents has simply been dumped in landfill sites.

“Minister for Foreign Affairs
Micheál Martin TD
Department of Foreign Affairs
80 St Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2


Dear Minister

I write with reference to our correspondence with your Office in January and your reply (Ref. AI1000013)

I attach the text of a reply from the MOD to our query.

`Ref: UKCT&R/Parliamentary/TO/20100217_TO00459

Dear Mr Moffatt

Thank you for your letter of 16 January 2010 to the Secretary of State for Defence requesting information on the stocks and subsequent disposal of CR gas in Northern Ireland. Your letter has been passed to this office to reply.

We have extensively trawled through our records, unfortunately, due to the passage of time we have been unable to locate any official records relating to the retention and destruction of CR gas in Northern Ireland.

I am sorry to give what I know will be a disappointing reply.

Paul Stephenson
Operations Directorate’

I am bound to say that I find this communication the most baffling of all the correspondence on this matter.

The UK seem to hold secure records which indicate this chemical agent was not used at the prison but they hold no information on the disposal of all the CR held in N Ireland and elsewhere. Such disposals will have occurred some years after the problems at the Prison and we are therefore not talking about `historical records’.

You will be aware that there are strict International controls over chemical weapons (these stocks were held by the military) and it is extremely worrying that they simply seem to have disappeared.

Disposals of this type would have been handled by the UK’s Porton Down establishment and if so the absence of records is odd!

The lack of clarity is further compounded by the fact that the UK government have in the past produced comprehensive records on such disposals from as far back as the 1950s

Perhaps you could make some enquiries from your UK counterpart it would be most disturbing if toxic material has simply been disposed of in landfills or dumped in the various sea dumps of Irelands North and North East coasts.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)”

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