‘Two bombs went off … my friend was murdered’ – Waterford politician and activist recalls Greenpeace bombing horror
Ireland MEP and activist, Waterford’s Grace O’Sullivan, has recalled the horror of being on board the ill-fated Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed just over 35 years ago.
The Waterford Green Party politician was a crew member on the Rainbow Warrior when it was sunk by French Secret Service agents.
Recalling the fateful day, Ms O’Sullivan said: “We were tied up in the Port of Auckland, New Zealand, preparing to depart across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia where we were protesting French nuclear testing at Moruroa.
“Two bombs went off onboard the Rainbow Warrior. My friend and crewmate, photographer Fernando Pereira was murdered, as he drowned on the sinking ship.
“The anniversary of that awful day, the 10th of July, is always a poignant day for me. It’s 35 years ago, but it still touches a raw nerve.”
Ms O’Sullivan (pictured above during her days as a Greenpeace activist), who was elected to the European Parliament in the Ireland South constituency last year, was deported back to Ireland shortly after the bombing, having sailed on the Greenpeace yacht Vega into the nuclear test zone to continue their protest.
“My family and friends begged me not to return to my work with Greenpeace, but the bombing and my involvement in other actions around peace and environmental justice made me even more determined to keep up the fight. I spent 20 years working for Greenpeace, 10 of them at sea onboard the Rainbow Warrior and other Greenpeace vessels,” she recalled.
“The work I do now, in politics, is a continuation of that. I still consider myself first and foremost, a peace and environment activist. It’s at the heart of everything I do.”