State approved €6.4m in Israel arms exports

Figures show that two military licences worth €126,637 were approved this year ahead of the Israeli attack on Gaza.
Figures show that two military licences worth €126,637 were approved this year ahead of the Israeli attack on Gaza.

Export licences for €6.4m worth of military goods for Israel have been approved by the Government in the past three years, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

The figures have led to demands from opposition parties for ministers to “come clean” on exactly what type of goods are being allowed to be exported to Israel.

Enterprise Department documents show the vast majority under the “military export” category, €6.18m, were approved in 2011.

The Government refuses to give details of what type of equipment was involved, referring to the broad headings of “ground vehicles, components” and “technology”.

New figures show that two military licences totalling €126,637 were approved this year in the run-up to the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

The licences are for specifically military exports, and not the “dual use” category for materials that can be used for either civilian or military purposes by the country being exported to.

“The licence type is determined by the product characteristics and not by the end-user,” said a spokesperson for the enterprise department. “A dual use licence is issued for dual use goods and a military licence is issued for military goods.”

Opposition parties have expressed concern that the exact type of material being sold to Israel is being hidden from the public.

The lack of transparency over the sales has provoked calls for the Government to provide more information regarding the sort of equipment which is being approved for sale abroad by Irish companies.

The sale of military equipment to Israel has sparked widespread international attention since the conflict in Gaza erupted, with Amnesty International calling for a ban on such sales to the country, and the Hamas authority in Gaza.

Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power expressed concern at the exports.

“I think it is outrageous that we are selling military equipment to Israel, and that equipment could be used as part of their attacks on women and children in Gaza,” she said. “Those licences should be suspended immediately. At the very least, there should be far more transparency about what these licenses cover.”

Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn also demanded the Government was more open about the situation.

“We need far more transparency regarding what is being covered by these licences,” said Mr Mac Lochlainn. “I am very concerned that these exports are being used by the Israeli military.

“There is absolutely no reason why the Government cannot show more accountability in this matter. They should come clean.”

British business secretary Vince Cable has announced the suspension of some of its arms exports to Israel if hostilities resume in Gaza due to fears UK made-products could be used by the Israeli Defence Forces.

The military licence figure for 2013 was €120,000, and €39,000 for 2012.

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