Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
198. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that according to Channel 4’s recent documentary, the Sudanese Government is using drones which contain elements made in Ireland in its targeting and killing of civilians; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that Ireland could be supplying this kind of military equipment to Sudan; and the steps he will take to ensure this is addressed immediately. [20476/12]
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I am aware of the reference in a recent television documentary that a component that appears to have been made in Ireland was part of an unmanned aerial vehicle that was used for military surveillance in Sudan.
The position of the Government is very clear in relation to the conflict in the Nuba Mountains/Southern Kordofan region which was the subject of this documentary. We condemn unreservedly the use of aerial bombing by the Sudanese Government against the civilian population. We have consistently called for an end to hostilities and for inclusive dialogue between the Government and insurgents to resolve differences through peaceful means.
The situation in Sudan is a high priority for the European Union and was discussed again at the Foreign Affairs Council which I attended in Luxembourg yesterday. The Council repeated the EU’s call for dialogue to resolve the conflict in southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile region.
Ireland is a strong supporter of United Nations and European Union initiatives aimed at restricting the flow of military equipment to Sudan and the Government is fully committed to compliance with these measures.
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is responsible for issuing licenses in respect of exports of controlled goods and technology listed in the EU Dual Use Regulations and the EU Military List. I am informed that no licenses have been issued in the past four years in respect of controlled technology intended for export to either Sudan or to the Sudanese authorities. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation works in close co-operation with the Revenue and Customs Service to monitor trade with countries against which trade sanctions are in place.
I would be concerned if equipment manufactured in Ireland was being used by the military in operations against the civilian population. Last week, I asked my officials to bring these reports to the attention of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which has undertaken to examine whether any restricted or sanctioned technology is involved. In particular, it will be important to clarify if the component apparently made in Ireland was a military or dual use item which would be subject to export control licensing, or a standard engineering component exported from Ireland which would not be subject to these conditions.
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