We are sad to see Belfast involved in building unmanned drones, which increase the risk of war

A letter from Máiread Maguire and multiple other signatories:

By Letters
Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 6:00 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The Northern Ireland ‘peace process’ risks becoming a Northern Ireland ‘war process’ with the contract awarded to the US-owned company Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast to develop an uncrewed, armed fighter jet drone for the RAF.

If this enters production presumably it will also be sold to various regimes around the world with appalling human rights records (as happens).

This contract may represent some skilled jobs for Belfast, but at what cost?

Thales missiles are already manufactured in the city (technically Lisburn and Castlereagh council area). We are still recovering from the various different sides killing each other in the Troubles; should we embark on producing weapons of destruction to kill others? No.

Drones (uncrewed aircraft) increase the risk of war and violence because they are considered more expendable with no human lives at risk on the side of the drone; the opposite is the case for the receiving side of an attack, with civilians considered expendable casualties.

There are many advanced engineering needs in our world today in terms of providing for the welfare of people, human security, and dealing with issues associated with the climate and ecological emergencies.

It is sad that the UK should be investing in this war technology, and doubly sad that it is being done in the city of Belfast which deserves better.

Máiread Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate; Joe Murray, Afri; Sue Claydon, Chair, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship; Stephen McCloskey, Centre for Global Education; Lawrence McBride, Far and Wild; Jim Keys, Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign; Rob Fairmichael, INNATE; Martin Leavy, Ireland Yearly Meeting (Quaker) Peace Committee; Gerry Grehan, Peace People; Felicity McCartney, Clerk of South Belfast Quaker Meeting; Jim O’Neill, St Columb’s Park House; Marian Farrell, Chair, Zero Waste North West

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