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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Collins Aerospace, Ireland and the arms trade - Workers Party of Ireland statement

Collins Aerospace supplies many weapons components including the Thrust Vector Actuation System for the THAAD missile system.

The Workers Party of Ireland President, Cllr Ted Tynan, has raised serious questions concerning the Cork-based branch of Collins Aerospace which recently invited school children to engage with it as part of a recruitment exercise.

The overall company, Collins Aerospace, describes itself as engaged in designing, manufacturing and servicing systems and components for commercial aviation, business aviation, military and defence, helicopters, space, airports, and other industries. While some of the company’s overall operations may involve purely civilian design and manufacture, the presence of a company which is part of an international operation involved in the arms industry demands that questions should be answered.

Collins Aerospace is an American technology company that is one of the world's largest suppliers of aerospace and so-called “defence” products. It is a subsidiary of RTX Corporation (formerly Raytheon Technologies). Raytheon Technologies is the largest aerospace and “defence” company in the world and is one of the world's largest arms-production companies.

In June 2023 Raytheon Technologies announced that its Collins Aerospace business in Cork had been selected to participate in eight projects under the European Union's SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking. This EU project has both civilian and military implications and the European Defence Agency has stated “The new technologies offered by SESAR can be seen as an opportunity for the military.”

The arms industry is a dangerous and deadly business that fuels conflict, repression and war and sustains regimes which abuse human rights, all in pursuit of profit. This vile industry does this with the full support of governments.

The arms industry is a global business whose participants manufacture, sell, and service weapons, military technology, and complementary equipment. It is heavily involved in research and development, engineering, producing and servicing military material, equipment, and facilities.

While the United States is by far the largest arms producer and exporter in the world there are other countries heavily involved in the global arms trade. The European arms industry has a combined 21% of the top 100's sales. In 2020, the 26 European companies listed sold $109 billion worth of weapons.

As long ago as 1980 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute listed Ireland as an arms exporter. Some technology companies in Ireland manufacture and sell components which are used in weapons systems. Simon Coveney, when Minister for Defence, stated openly that he wanted to see greater involvement by Irish companies in the global military industry.

Government documents demonstrate that Ireland’s arms trade is increasing, including exports of dual-use technology and military equipment. Dual-use exports includes products and components, including software and technology, that can be used for both civil and military applications. In 2022 Ireland issued export licences for telecommunications and information security technology worth €10,711,784 to Israel.

Cllr Tynan stated, “Ireland has a tradition of military neutrality which is being increasingly undermined by successive governments and the EU in an attempt to draw this country into the deadly embrace of NATO and its war machine. At a time when the state of Israel is engaged in a genocidal war against the Palestinian people and in the face of the Irish government’s duplicity, I am writing to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, the IDA and to Simon Coveney as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to address the Workers Party’s general concerns about taxpayers’ money being used to fund the design, manufacture and export of military equipment including dual-use technology and, in particular, highly sophisticated military guidance systems.

I am also calling on the government to investigate and make public the precise nature of the products, systems and components designed, manufactured, serviced and exported by Collins Aerospace in Cork and whether and how much public funding and support has been provided to this company.

The people of this country deserve and demand an immediate answer.”


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