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Sunday 18 March 2018

State bought €14m of weapons from Israel

Don Lavery

Ireland has spent nearly €14m on Israeli weapons in the last five years, new figures show.

But despite the apparent use of fake Irish passports in a murder carried out by Israeli agents, the Government does not intend to exclude Israeli companies from taking part in tender competitions.

Defence Minister Tony Killeen said last week that the matter of a general trade embargo on Israel raises implications for foreign policy. He said the Government has consistently been opposed to proposals for trade, diplomatic, cultural, academic, sporting or other boycotts of Israel.

The Sunday Independent had highlighted Israel's success in winning a series of arms contracts in recent years. Israel is also expected to be in the running for a series of new Irish contracts for over 20 million rounds of small-arms ammunition.

Among the other arms bought from Israel are X-ray equipment for bomb disposal, drone aircraft, artillery fire control systems, and surveillance equipment for armoured vehicles.

One contract which Mr Killeen did not mention is for Cornershot systems for the secretive Army Ranger Wing which allows soldiers to shoot around corners with pistols and assault rifles. The issue was raised by Labour's Michael D Higgins and Aengus O Snodaigh of Sinn Fein.

However Mr Killeen said tender competitions for equipment are open to any individual company or country in accordance with the terms of all UN and OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) arms embargos or restrictions.

Sunday Independent

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