Irish companies sign contracts worth $7m with US military

American defence department hired 28 Irish-based firms for goods and services

Former US president George W Bush with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Co Clare in 2004. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Former US president George W Bush with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Co Clare in 2004. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 01:00

Irish-based companies entered contracts worth more than $7 million with the United States defence department in the past decade, figures reveal.

The contracts were awarded to companies across the State including one to a firm based in Ratoath, Co Meath, to supply “forensic equipment”, including cameras, lenses, microscopes and X-ray scanners to the US army and were delivered to Iraq.

Other goods and services provided by Irish firms included research and development contracts, the provision of freight services and the supply of forensic and medical equipment and secure communications equipment.

A database containing information on contracts entered by the US government provide detail on over $11 million in contracts agreed with Irish companies in the past decade, with almost two-thirds of that amount relating to contracts with the US department of defence.

The database lists 28 Irish- based companies which received $7,037,741 for goods and services provided between April 2005 and March 2014.

The most valuable contract was between Dublin City University and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which was worth $2.7 million. This was for the development of therapies in relation to botulism.

A request lodged by The Irish Times under the US Freedom of Information Act found the contract related to the prevention of neurological damage and possible death caused by the toxin produced by the anaerobic bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, the toxin involved in botulism, which has potential for misuse as bio-warfare agent.

The second-highest value contract was awarded to d’Amico Tankers Limited, an arm of one of the world’s largest shipping companies, the Italian d’Amico Group, which has offices on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin.

The company entered into three contracts, worth $1.64 million, with the US navy in 2013. One of the contracts related to “deep sea freight transportation” and was worth $883,000 for the transport of 200,000 barrels of “clean petroleum products” from Greece to the UK in early 2013.

US army

The Ratoath company DG Total Engineering Solutions supplied goods worth almost $530,000 to the US army in 2008. According to the contract description, it provided laboratory and “forensic equipment” including cameras, lenses, microscopes and X-ray scanners delivered to Abu Ghraib warehouse near Baghdad in Iraq.

A number of companies supplied medical equipment to the US army, including AMO Ireland which received almost $395,000 in army contracts for ophthalmic surgical equipment, supplies and maintenance while Haptica Limited, a now-dissolved company provided almost $393,000 worth of laparoscopy equipment which is used for abdominal examinations.

The database also contains details of army contracts worth almost $150,000 with the Tyndall National Institute in Cork for research and development in biotechnology. The contracts, dated between 2009 and 2010, relate to cell-based water toxicity evaluations (toxichip cytotoxicity screening of water).

The institute was the only company with the ability to fulfil the contract requirements due to the “emerging technology and complexity of the studies to be conducted”.

Communications solutions

Klas Limited, the Irish arm of the US-based Klas Telecom, recorded almost $77,000 in contracts with the US army, navy and air forces between 2009 and 2012 mainly under the category of communications security equipment. It is located in Kilmainham, Dublin.

According to its website, the company engineers and designs tactical communications solutions allowing its clients to communicate securely in military environments and has been developing connectivity equipment for US and international federal governments for more than 22 years.