DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, has suggested Lough Foyle as a possible new home for the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system.
Mr. Donaldson made the comments on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme on Tuesday afternoon.
Radio presenter, William Crawley, asked Mr. Donaldson for his thoughts on moving the nuclear weapons systems to Lough Foyle in Derry.
“My own constituency [Lagan Valley] is land locked so it would not be able to take the submarines but there are a number of ports in Northern Ireland that could,” said Mr. Donaldson.
“Of course Lough Foyle was a naval base and it played an enormous roll in thwarting the German U-boat fleet in the North Atlantic and we shouldn’t underestimate the value of that. Bear in mind, the reason the submarines that carry the nuclear weapons are based in Scotland is because it provides easy access to the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. Northern Ireland would also provide that.
“Lough Foyle is probably not deep enough so work would have to be carried out to deepen it but it’s not the only option in Northern Ireland.”
The Trident nuclear weapon system is currently based in Faslane in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) currently govern Scotland and do not support the retention of the nuclear weapons system.
“The SNP has made it clear that they don’t want Trident in Scotland. It’s looking likely that an SNP government will be returned at next year’s elections and there could be a chance that Scotland will vote to leave the UK so with that in mind it [the home of Trident] could become a question to be addressed in that context but, at the minute, I am happy for Scotland to remain their home,” said Mr. Donaldson.
Mr. Donaldson first made the suggestion of re-homing Trident in the North of Ireland during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Monday.
Mr. Donaldson did say whilst he preferred a world where nuclear weapons didn’t exist it would be naive, given the current instability in the world, of the UK to get rid of Trident.
“I would hope that there would come a day that the nations of the world would come to their senses and negotiate a treaty that would result in multi-lateral disarmament but we are no where near that day yet so the UK must play its part in providing the deterrent that we need when dealing with nations who don’t have the same values as we do when it comes to using nuclear weapons.”
To listen to Mr. Donaldson’s full interview on BBC Radio Ulster click here.