IAWM condemns the use of the Irish Naval Service patrol vessel, the LE Samuel Beckett, to sell arms at the London Arms Fair.

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM) PRESS RELEASE: 10 SEPTEMBER 2017

The IAWM condemns the use of the Irish Naval Service patrol vessel, the LE Samuel Beckett, to sell arms at the London Arms Fair.

The Irish Naval Service patrol vessel LE Samuel Beckett left its home port of Haulbowline Co Cork on Friday evening and headed for London to participate in the infamous DSAI Arms Fair. Its expected time of arrival in London Port is 11.45 am on Sunday 10 September.

This ship was purchased in 2014 at a cost of about €71 million and two other almost identical ships have been purchased in the meantime bringing the cost of the three vessels to about €213 million Euro. €213 million would build a lot of social housing for the homeless, even if we do need some naval patrol vessels.

In March this year another naval vessel, the LE Aisling, was sold for €110,000 and is reportedly being converted into a luxury yacht. If it is suitable as a luxury yacht then one has to ask why was it not upgraded to continue in service with the Irish Naval Service, rather than replaced at a cost of €71M?

The LE Samuel Beckett will not be available to protect our fisheries or provide emergency marine rescue services while in London, where its apparent duties will be to help sell lucrative military equipment for the global arms industry. This is outrageous given that the Irish Government has declared Ireland to be a neutral state. It also represents serious misuse of Irish taxpayers funds at a time when over 8,000 people are homeless.

This totally unnecessary naval journey is being advertised on the website of the DSEI Arms Fair website and on the website of a Danish company called Systematics Maritime who are using the LE Samuel Beckett to advertise their naval equipment some of which is fitted to the LE Samuel Beckett - https://systematic.com/defence/news/2017/systematics-maritime-operations...

The adverts notes:

“As part of the Naval Zone, delegates will be able to watch choreographed waterborne displays close to Royal Navy ships including a Type 23 Frigate, Minehunter, Offshore Patrol Vessel, and two inshore Patrol vessels together with visiting ships from the Belgian Navy and Irish Naval Service. The ability for DSEI delegates and visitors to go on board the various military ships moored at DSEI has always been popular and this year will be no exception."

Edward Horgan of the IAWM Steering Committee noted that serious questions about this misuse of the LE Samuel Beckett need to be answered urgently including:

• Did An Taoiseach in his role as Minister for Defence approve this misuse of an Irish Naval Service ship?

• Who is paying for the LE Samuel Beckett to visit the London arms fair; is it the Irish taxpayer, or worst still, an international arms company?

• What other members of the Irish Defence Forces are attending this arms fair in addition to the crew of the LE Samuel Beckett, and why?

The IAWM says that the LE Samuel Beckett should be recalled immediately to resume its proper duties in Ireland and the Dáil Public Accounts Committee should carry out a full investigation into this matter.

Contact:
Edward Horgan, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 085 851 9623
Jim Roche, PRO, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 647 2737
Glenda Cimino, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 124 9456
John Molyneux, Secretary, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 085 735 6424
Michael Youlton, Chair, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 815 9487
Memet Uludag, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 7919307

For more information on the IAWM see:

Website - www.irishantiwar.org

@IrishAntiWarMvt https://twitter.com/#!/IrishAntiWarMvt

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