Raytheon to close its plant in Derry

 

THE US defence software company Raytheon confirmed yesterday that it is to close its plant at Springtown in Derry following several years of anti-war protests inside and outside its premises.

A representative for the Derry Anti-War Coalition, which organised the protests claiming the Derry plant was manufacturing missile systems for the Israeli defence forces, welcomed Raytheon’s announcement describing it as “mission accomplished”.

Raytheon opened its Derry operation in 1999 with a staff of 50, which in recent years had declined to just seven.

However, over the past number of years the company has been dogged by controversy amid claims that its Derry plant made component parts for bunker bombs used by the Israeli airforce against civilians in Gaza.

The company always denied the claims but four years ago Derry city councillors distanced themselves from Raytheon following several visits to the plant and meetings with senior management.

In a statement yesterday a representative for Raytheon confirmed the company would not be renewing its lease for the Springtown plant which expires at the end of next month.

“We carefully considered the overall workload for the site and have decided to consolidate a number of roles with our other main sites”.

Last year a number of anti-war protesters were acquitted by a jury of committing a series of public order offences during protests inside and outside Raytheon’s Springtown plant.

On March 8th nine women and five men are due to go on trial in Derry, again charged with public order offences following another protest at Raytheon last January.

The defendants’ barristers have stated that the defence would be based on the justified hampering of the delivery of component parts being supplied by Raytheon to the Israeli defence forces.

The trial is expected to last for more than six weeks.