To mark the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21st, the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has launched a new policy document on Irish financing of the nuclear weapons industry, calling for legislation to end the investment of state funds in companies involved in the manufacture, testing and maintenance of nuclear weapons, their components and their delivery systems.
The document, "Ireland, Irish Finance and the Nuclear Weapons Industry", is written by Irish CND chairperson, Dr David Hutchinson Edgar, and finds that the National Pensions Reserve Fund, according to its most recent annual report, has investments worth around €10 million in companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry. It also discloses that AIB, in majority state ownership, was involved in giving a loan of €28 million to a major American company heavily involved in the maintenance of US nuclear weapons.
Ireland has always had a strong policy of working towards nuclear disarmament, and commitment to nuclear disarmament is one of the few policy areas for which all political parties in the state have expressed unequivocal support. While the investment of state funds in companies which produce a number of other types of weapons - cluster munitions and land mines - is banned, there is no restriction on investment in nuclear weapons companies. Irish CND is calling for this bizarre inconsistency between Irish foreign policy and Irish financial policy to be addressed.
Irish CND chairperson, Dr David Hutchinson Edgar, said, "Ireland has a very strong record of working internationally for an end to nuclear weapons. It is absurd that Irish state funds, through the National Pensions Reserve Fund, should be used to finance companies which are heavily involved in the manufacture, testing and maintenance of nuclear weapons. Ireland has been critical of the failure of the nuclear-armed states to disarm in accordance with their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet Irish state funds support companies which profit by perpetuating the existence of nuclear weapons and prolong the threat to life on earth which they pose.
In tandem with the launch of this policy paper, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy announced his intention to move a Bill which would give effect to some of the principal recommendations of the Irish CND report. He stated, "The threat posed by the existence of nuclear weapons is not something that has gone away. In fact it is potentially growing. We have a historical duty to continue to work towards international disarmament and non-proliferation and it is important that this Dail meets that challenge." The Nuclear Weapons (Prohibition of Investments) Bill 2012 was published on Friday 21st September. Irish CND would like to express its gratitude to Deputy Murphy for his active promotion of nuclear disarmament at Oireachtas level.
Read or download the Irish CND policy paper, "Ireland, Irish Finance and the Nuclear Weapons Industry" here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106510993/Ireland-Irish-Finance-and-the-Nuclea...
Read the Nuclear Weapons (Prohibition of Investments) Bill 2012 here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=21779&&CatID=59
Read Deputy Eoghan Murphy's statement in full here: http://www.eoghanmurphy.ie/2012/09/20/time-for-pension-fund-to-stop-inve...