Raytheon ships out
Raytheon ships out

Raytheon, the controversial international arms manufacturer, is to leave Derry and close its operations plant there, it was announced on Wednesday.

The announcement has been welcomed by progressive and left-wing organisations in the city, some of whom bitterly opposed its operations.

Raytheon have been at the centre of a long-running dispute due to its production of military weapons. Some of the weapons are used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while rheir arms were also used by Israeli forces in their attacks on Gaza and south Lebanon.

The company’s Derry plant was, according to Raytheon, involved in the software end of military manufacture. Among its products and the bunker-buster bomb and Tomahawk and Cruise missiles.

In August 2006, nine activists forced entry into the Raytheon offices and occupied it for eight hours prior to their arrest. In June 2008, by a unanimous verdict of the jury, the ‘Raytheon 9’ were found not guilty of three counts of criminal damage at the office.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Foyle Martina Anderson said that the weapons firm had admitted that all their plants were used to produce its entire inventory of products “which flies in the face of assurances made to Derry City Council by the company when it arrived in Derry.

“This plant was part and parcel of that. While I understand seven people will be laid off and that will affect their livelihood I am quite sure in the bigger scheme of things that the people of Derry will be happy to see this firm, who deal in weapons of mass destruction, leave the city.

“There also remains questions regarding the funding that they would have received from Invest NI under the promise that Raytheon would have created 300 jobs. This was never the case and now we see a withdrawal with no economic sanction.”

eirigi spokesperson Daithi Mac An Mhaistir also welcomed the closure.

Mac An Mhaistir said: “The closure of Raytheon’s Derry plant can only be welcomed by anyone who has concern for Ireland’s complicity in the murder of thousands of human beings by militaries around the world.

He said Raytheon was “a purveyor of death on a mass scale”.

“Raytheon supplied much of the murderous weaponry that was used by the US military against the Iraqi people from the 2003 invasion onwards; indeed, it was a Raytheon manufactured missile that smashed into a Baghdad market in April 2003, killing 62 civilians. Likewise, the US/NATO war machine in Afghanistan has been amply supplied by Raytheon, with horrific consequences for the civilian population.

“Raytheon is also a major dealer to the Israeli Occupation Forces. In the recent bombardments of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, it was Raytheon missiles that did so much damage when fired from Israeli jets. It was Raytheon missiles that smashed into refugee camps, ambulances, hospitals, schools, houses, food stores and, ultimately, innocent men, women and children.”

Mac An Mhaistir said the steadfast opposition of Derry residents “was in stark contrast to the complicity of local politicians, who either openly supported or privately connived at Raytheon’s operations.

“While the closure of the Derry Raytheon plant will probably not affect the overall operations of the company, it is a small victory and offers Ireland the opportunity to remove all war mongers from the country and present a truly humane image on the international stage.”

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