MR SANDS: I was dealing with the question of cooperation under Articles 123 and 197 of the 1992 Convention. I have given you a first example of what we, on the Irish say, amounts to behaviour, which is not cooperative in character.
I would like to refer to a second example, which has already been referred to this morning but we think it is an important point, and that is why we come back to it. That is reflected in the Secretary of State Mrs Margaret Beckett’s letter of 24 October 2001, which Mr Fitzsimons has already referred to. That letter ought to be on your screens now. The material point that I want to make is in relation to the line which is highlighted in yellow on the text. This is of course the letter of 24 October 2001, as you can see at the top of the page on the right. The emphasised extract states: “It is in fact the case that the authorisation procedure for the MOX plant has not yet been completed.”
I reiterate the point made by Mr Fitzsimons. We say that Mrs Beckett’s statement is highly misleading and entirely out of keeping with the duty to cooperate. As Mr Fitzsimons has shown, by reference to other correspondence, when Mrs Beckett wrote that letter she, or her department for which she is responsible, knew that the MOX plant was to become operational on 23 November. That information is not included in the letter. We say that she has withheld information at a crucial date from the Irish Government.