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new figures Ireland's arms trade now worth €42m a year despite strict licensing controls over exports

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IRELAND’S arms trade is now worth €42 million a year despite strict licensing controls over the export of anything for use in weapons or military equipment.

Most of the trade was with companies in the United States and includes personal firearms for hunting or target shooting.

Explosives for mining firms along with aircraft components, ground vehicles, electronics and computer software were also included.

The figures for 2019 show an increase from €37.7 million in 2018 to €42.3 million.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said the department “actively participates” in effort to prevent the spread of weapons around the world.

“To this end, the Department operates the highest standards of export controls, in accordance with international law and best practice,” he said.

The Tánaiste’s remarks came in a parliamentary reply to a query from Sinn Fein TD John Brady last week.

He added all applications for export licences in respect of military equipment “are subject to rigorous scrutiny by my officials, on a case-by-case basis."

“In keeping with the commitment in the Programme for Government, I am committed to the maximum openness and transparency in the operation of Ireland’s export controls,” he said.

The US accounted for €32 million of the total of €42.3 million value of licences issued in 2019 although there were also export to several other countries including Turkey and the UK.

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