Independent Media Centre Ireland

Derry City Now A 'No-Go' Area for the Arms Trade

category derry | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Thursday January 08, 2004 18:45author by FEICer - Foyle Ethical Investment Campaignauthor email feicmail at yahoo dot ie

Derry City Council Backs Local Activists in Naming & Shaming Raytheon

Yesterday was a historic day in the long campaign against the evils of the arms trade. At a special meeting yesterday, Derry City Council condemned the arms trade and Raytheon's role in it. The meeting was called as a response to FEIC's four year campaign against Raytheon and in particular to vigils held outside Council meetings last Spring while the war in Iraq raged.

Derry City Now A 'No-Go' Area for the Arms Trade

Yesterday was a historic day in the long campaign against the evils of the arms trade. Below is the text of the motion carried unanimously by Derry City Council at its special meeting yesterday. The meeting was called as a response to FEIC's four year campaign against Raytheon. (The motion is long because it is an amalgamation of SDLP and Sinn Fein motions on the matter.)The DUP and UUP abstained on the vote, but controversially failed to join everyone else present, including a packed public gallery,in standing for a minute's silence for the victims of the arms trade.

At yesterday's meeting, Councillors from Sinn Fein and the SDLP worked with Foyle Ethical Investment Campign to declare Derry a 'no-go zone' for the arms trade. Council formally acknowledged that Raytheons's core global business is the arms trade and committed itself to opposing that trade. This is a historic first for any Council on these islands and whilst the Council stopped short of immediately asking Raytheon to go, they resolved to respond to the material contained in the FEIC briefing provided to the Council and to investigate the matter further. FEIC will be providing further research and information to the Council in the near future which will underline the hard reality that the software being developed at raytheon's plant in Derry assists raytheon's global business, which is war. In another very important move, the Council also resolved to introduce a socially responsible investment policy, endorsing FEIC's vision for Derry as a vision for Derry as a beacon of light across the world for peace, justice and reconciliation.

FEIC congratulates those elected representatives who worked with us to produce this defining moment in the city's history. FEIC wishes to thank those elected representatives for their support and looks forward to their continuing support in our campaign. FEIC also thanks all of those friends and supporters who turned up to the vigil yesterday, especially those who travelled long distances to attend, those who sent letters and messages of support and all who packed the public gallery at yesterday's meeting.

This process has opened up a dialogue with council which FEIC intends to continue. We believe that our four year campaign against Raytheon re-iterates the importance of grassroots activism and the fact that thinking globally and acting locally DOES work. It shoudl also provide a model for other activists elsewhere in Ireland -- already a Belfast-Lisburn Ethical Investment Campaign has been set up and in an act of solidarity with FEIC, held a 'walkabout' in Belfast to protest the existence of Thales Air Defence Systems in that city.

The campaign in Derry isn't over -- raytheon are still in Derry, but when they go (and they WILL go) they will -ironically - have contributed to a lasting legacy of Derry as a centre of the peace industry and not the outpost of the war industry raytheon and their cheerleaders want our city to be.


Derry City Council has a vision for a City in which all its citizens have pride. Building on its proud traditions of civil rights, religious liberty, tolerance, and nonviolence, Derry City Council believes this City ought to be known throughout the world as a centre of opposition to violence and human degradation. An image of a City renowned for its peace institutes, a sustainable economic policy based on human needs and social inclusiveness, forward thinking and readiness to solve problems creatively should eclipse the negative stereotype of an embittered, intolerant, war-torn backwater that is useful only as a dumping ground for investors with dubious reputations and few scruples. This will allow our City to be set apart internationally by being marketed as a beacon for socially responsible investment.

Derry City Council opposes the arms trade, because it depends upon and promotes the continuation of war and instability and creates poverty and disaster, sucking in physical, human and intellectual resources into a vortex of violence.

Derry City Council resolves to elaborate and introduce a policy of opposition to the City's economic participation in the international arms trade. A copy of this resolution will be sent to the Chancellor of the University of Ulster and copied to the Provost of Magee University College.

Derry City Council resolves instead to elaborate and introduce policy to create a climate that is conducive to socially responsible investment taking root.

Derry City Council further resolves to support and encourage initiatives which promote education about the effects of the international arms trade and greater understanding between people in the global north and the people in the global south, particularly amongst our young people.

Derry City Council acknowledges that Raytheon's core business is the arms trade. Raytheon is an integral part of the international arms trade and Derry City Council wants no part of that trade here in this city. In particular we declare our opposition to the development or production of weapons or any software whose end use is a military application and if that is shown to be the case at Raytheon in Derry then Councilís position will change.

Council reaffirms its commitment to tackling unemployment in the council area and to promoting inward investment and its commitment that this should be on a socially and environmentally responsible basis

Council recognises and reflects public concern in the city at the effects of the global arms industry and particularly of the war in Iraq

Council does not want the council area to become a production site for the arms industry

Council restates its opposition to the war in Iraq as elsewhere

Council condemns the international arms trade that results in the suffering of people at the expense of real and sustainable human development in water, housing, health and education. Council opposes that trade regardless of the customers

Council acknowledges that Raytheon in their activities are involved in the manufacture of arms. Council received assurances that the Raytheon facility here in Derry would only be engaged in activities that had civilian applications.

Council has a responsibility to the people of this city to whom that undertaking was relayed to ensure that it is upheld.

Council notes that information in a dossier from FEIC raises questions about the validity of those assurances.

Council calls upon Raytheon to respond to the allegations in the dossier regarding their activities in the Derry plant in order to establish whether or not the undertakings given to Council are being upheld

Council acknowledges and thanks Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign for attending this special meeting.

Council expresses its regret and disappointment that Raytheon did not accept Councilís invitation to address this special meeting in order to discuss their activities here with the elected representatives and citizens of this city.

Council welcomes any information on this matter from employees of Raytheon as well as form management which would be treated in the utmost confidence.

Council mandates the Town Clerk to immediately write to Raytheon outlining the concerns raised and seeking answers to those points.

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