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Sinn Féin supports taxing the arms trade - Mary Lou McDonald

17 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today welcomed a draft resolution calling for a tighter EU code of conduct on arms exports and a tax levy on the arms trade in the EU. The resolution proposes that the revenue from such a tax would be paid into funds to help alleviate poverty.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin wants to see a demilitarised Ireland and European Union. We want to see tighter controls on the production and export of arms. Our own experience of conflict resolution over the past 30 years has taught us of the need to dramatically reduce the arms industry in all its forms.

"We want to see a more effective EU Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers and the adoption of an international Arms Trade Treaty to prevent EU export of arms where they contribute to violations of human rights. We are also committed to working toward a demilitarised European Union.

"Sinn Féín welcomes the proposal to place levies on the export of weaponry and component parts throughout the EU and beyond. There is an enormous amount of money to be made in the international arms trade. Indeed, Ireland alone exported over 2.5 billion euro worth of military and dual-use goods in 2003.

"Sinn Féin would view any such tax as merely a stop gap measure. In September 2004 I called for the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports to be revised with immediate effect to prevent European arms suppliers from using loopholes in the Code of Conduct to export arms to internationally recognised human rights abusing regimes.

"I also welcome the proposal that the capital generated from any such venture, would be placed in funds for the victims of armed conflict and the alleviation of poverty. Both myself and my colleague, Bairbre de Brún MEP will be supporting this motion in the European Parliament today." ENDS

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