Irish firms making Iraq war weapon parts: Amnesty

Amnesty International today linked Irish companies to the supply of deadly weapons to conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Amnesty International today linked Irish companies to the supply of deadly weapons to conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

The organisation demanded loopholes in export controls be closed to prevent any connection with human rights abuses around the world.

It claims Irish firms and individuals are making key components for weapons assembled abroad and providing overseas arms manufacturers with expertise.

These include parts for attack helicopters used against Palestinians and in Lebanon as well as designs for armoured vehicles used in Afghanistan and by Iraqi paramilitaries accused of torture and unlawful killing.

“We need effective law to ensure that military and security goods, technology and services from Ireland do not contribute to human rights abuses around the globe,” insisted Noeleen Hartigan, Director of Programmes, Amnesty International in Ireland.

“Ireland must play its part in controlling the global arms trade; we are the only EU country that has no controls on arms brokering.”

Ms Hartigan said that while Amnesty International did not oppose all trade in military, security and police equipment, stricter controls were needed.

Irish companies are also involved with the transport of arms to Israel and Venezuela, supplying “less lethal” security and prison equipment and providing military services to overseas armed forces, the human rights organisation claimed.

It is calling on the Government to introduce tighter laws regulating the manufacture of weapons components, the supply of military services and arms transport through Ireland.

“We welcomed the publication of the Control of Exports Bill 2007 in February, but as this research proves, the Bill will not adequately control our current and potential arms trade,” said Ms Hartigan.

“Faced with an arms industry that operates globally, the Irish Government must not take a minimalist approach to this legislation.

“The scale of human suffering caused by uncontrolled arms transfers makes action on our recommendations imperative.”

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