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Ireland's involvement in arms trade must end

15 May, 2004

Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has welcomed Amnesty International's report into the extent of this state's arms trade. He called on the Irish government to 'end its involvement in the arms trade and institute adequate and fully transparent export controls on dual use goods.'

Mr. Doherty said:

"Despite what most people assume, Ireland is involved in the arms trade. Since 1997, the 26-Counties has exported €240 million of military goods and €23.7 billion of dual-use goods (which have both military and civilian applications), including technology used by the French and US nuclear programmes. Ireland exported over €2.5 billion worth of military and dual-use goods in 2003 alone.

"It has been documented that dual-use goods produced in Ireland are being used by human rights violating regimes elsewhere. In effect this means that Irish taxpayers are subsidising the arms trade through payments made by Enterprise Ireland to companies that supply military firms.

"Ireland should end its involvement in the arms trade. In the meantime, Sinn Féin advocates the introduction of a Military and Dual-Use Export Control Act to better regulate the sector and bring in a fully transparent export licensing system, including proper destination and end-use monitoring and controls on brokering and trans-shipment (passage of military and dual-use goods en route to a third country) to prevent transfers that facilitate human rights violations.

"We are also calling on the Irish government to support an International Arms Trade Treaty to prevent arms exports to destinations where they are likely to be used to commit grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law."ENDS

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