Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (116)

Finian McGrath

Question:

232 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to Irish arms deals that are fuelling the conflict in the Congo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1616/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

In the context of the launch by Amnesty International of its report, Human Rights Begin at Home: Recommendations to Ireland's EU Presidency, on 13 January 2004, a representative of the organisation commented that arms brokering deals made on Irish soil are killing civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. However, the specific basis for these allegations is unclear and I am not aware of any such activities taking place in Ireland. Indeed, one newspaper report of the allegations stated that, despite claims by Amnesty International that there was plenty of anecdotal evidence, a spokeswoman for the organisation could not name one such deal that had been brokered in Ireland or say what parties had been involved.

While Ireland, along with some other EU member states, does not currently have legislation on arms brokering, we are committed to introducing legislation in line with the EU common position on arms brokering that was adopted last June.

A review of Ireland's export control rules and procedures for dual-use and military goods is nearing completion. The review, which will cover a wide range of issue, including arms brokering, will recommend how best we can modernise and strengthen them to ensure full compliance with our international obligations.