The value of Irish exports of equipment that can be used for both military and civilian applications more than doubled last year to almost €3.3bn.

Figures provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation show exports used solely for military purposes increased by 47% to €62.8m in 2016.

The number of licences issued to suppliers of military equipment went from 81 in 2015 to 128 last year.

The US was the destination for most military exports from Ireland, with sales worth €37.9m. These sales

included €29.5m worth of equipment used in aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles specially designed or modified for military use.

The next biggest customers of military equipment made in the Republic were Germany (€8.7m) and Singapore (€7.7m).

The department said the licenses were mostly for components rather than finished goods.

The figures are contained in the annual report on the Control of Exports Act 2008.

It shows a number of military licences were issued to individuals holding sports firearms and to companies engaged in mining activity.

The department said there was a relatively small cohort of exporters of military goods and technology.

Overall the value of exports of equipment that can be used for military purposes last year reached their highest level since 2011.

Sales of both military and dual-use equipment rose 126% to just under €3.3bn in 2016, although the actual number of licences declined from 650 in 2015 to 560.

The increase was largely due to the value of exports from global dual-use licence holders, which accounted for over €2.8bn of sales.

According to the department, most of the increase was related to intra-company sales of dual-use equipment by one licence holder.

While exports of telecommunications and information security equipment declined last year, it was more than offset by an increase in the value of electronic components.

The report reveals that two applications for an export licence were refused last year following consultation between the Department of Jobs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and other EU and international export licensing authorities.

The department said the denials were made on the grounds of “consideration about the intended end-use and the risk of diversion”.

It said its licensing process centred on ensuring, as far as possible, the item to be exported would be used by the stated end-user for the stated end-use and would not be used for any illicit purpose such as in connection with weapons of mass destruction.

“The safeguards built into the licensing system facilitate robust checks and cross-checks in this regard,” it said.

The department said 136 proposed exports were referred to it by Revenue last year. The identity of firms which export military or dual-use equipment are not published.


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