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Anniversary of Rainbow Warrior bombing: MEP and former deckhand Grace O’Sullivan calls on Macron for

The Rainbow Warrior is in Marsden Wharf in Auckland Harbour after the bombing by French secret service agents.


Ahead of the anniversary marking 38 years since the fatal attack on Greenpeace ship by French Secret Services, Member of the European Parliament Grace O’Sulllivan has written to French President Emmanuel Macron calling for a full apology to crew members and family of murdered photographer Fernando Pereira. MEP O’Sullivan was a member of the Rainbow Warrior crew at the time of the attack.


On 10 July 1985 the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was moored in Auckland New Zealand ahead of a planned protest against French nuclear weapons testing in the Moruroa Atoll. Several crew were on board, while others including Grace O’Sullivan, now Green Party MEP for Ireland South, had taken shore leave. Unbeknownst to those on the ship who were celebrating the birthday of one of the crew, French secret service agents in diving gear had attached two charges of explosives to the hull of the ship. The explosives went off, trapping photographer Fernando Pereira inside as the boat went down.


Initially the French government, under President Francois Mitterand, denied all knowledge of the operation until the secret service agents involved were caught by New Zealand security forces. Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart were transferred to a French military base where they served less than two years, while other agents involved were not apprehended.


In a letter addressed to President Emmanuel Macron, MEP O’Sullivan said that ‘the time has now come for a full apology’ noting that while at least 10 French agents are suspected of involvement in the fatal bombing, only two ever saw the inside of a court room.


Speaking from Brussels ahead of the anniversary, MEP Grace O’Sullivan said; “It’s been a long time since France’s terrorist attack on the Rainbow Warrior which took the life of my friend Fernando Pereira, and neither his family nor any of the crew have yet to receive the most basic apology from the French government. Even after the bombing, the French continued to harass us. Only a few months after the brazen attack, French commandos seized our boat Vega and kept us detained for the best part of a week in the Pacific before I was deported under armed guard. The whole French operation was a brutal and botched attack on peaceful protestors that ended in assassination. It’s time for an apology.”


New Rainbow Warrior ships were later commissioned by Greenpeace, and continue peaceful campaigns around the world for climate and environmental justice. Before returning to Ireland in the 1990s, Grace O’Sullivan campaigned and worked with Greenpeace for 20 years, including 10 years at sea on campaigns in the Mediterranean, Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. She is now a Member of the European Parliament for the constituency of Ireland South, and works primarily on environmental and marine protection issues.

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