Irish Police consider investigating complaint against Hewlett- Packard

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at
Thu Dec 19 18:14:21 MST 2002

Gardai may act on claims of nuclear software
By Lorna Siggins, in Galway

  Gardaí in Galway are considering whether to investigate a complaint about
the activities of the computer multinational, Hewlett- Packard (HP), amid
claims that the company's subsidiary is providing software for French and US
nuclear weapons programmes.

The complaint was lodged by Mr Eoin Dubsky with the support of the Irish
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The Department of Enterprise, Trade
and Employment has already been in contact with the company in relation to
claims that HP's Compaq subsidiary is in breach of export laws.

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) said it would withdraw grant aid
to the firm if it was in breach of business rules, while making it clear
that it had no problem in principle with giving support to companies
involved in manufacturing for military use.

Compaq was taken over by HP last May and has received over ?8 million in
State aid to date, with over ?1 million of this destined for the Galway

A Department spokesman said it had been informed verbally that the product
at the centre of controversy was of general application. The company argues
that the software has a "whole variety of uses" in high-capacity computing -
such as weather forecasting - and does not require an export licence. In a
separate statement, HP said its subsidiary operation was "assisting the
Department of Enterprise fully with any queries they have".

However, the Galway Alliance Against War group says it has good reason to
believe the software is for use by the French and US nuclear weapons
programmes, and this is in contravention of a resolution passed by Galway
Corporation in the 1980s making the city a nuclear-free zone.

© The Irish Times

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