‘Divest pensions from global arms industry’

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Independent councillor Gary Donnelly has urged hedge fund managers handling councillors’ pension contributions to divest themselves of shares in arms traders including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and nuclear bomb manufacturer Honeywell International.

Colr. Donnelly said some investments by hedge funds handling the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) pension funds were unethical and should be stopped.

Millions of pounds worth of pension contributions managed by NILGOSC on behalf of Education Authority, NIHE, Magee, City of Derry Airport, NWRC and Ulsterbus workers are currently invested in the global defence industry, big mining and various other industries with poor track records of corporate responsibility.

Colr. Donnelly said: “It has come to light that NILGOSC hedgefunds equity investments include a number of unethical corporations, including those involved in arms trade. It is critical that Derry City and Strabane District Council adopts a Fair Trade and Ethical Investment policy throughout all procurement, investment, trade and other portfolios, not just those managed by Council but also those affecting its finance, including members’ pensions.”

He said it was also important the local authority ensured investments were not in breach of the council’s policy of boycotting Israeli goods in support the people of Palestine.

However, millions of pounds of local pension contributions are invested in Israeli firms, including £2,706,280.13 in Bezeq Israeli Telecom, for example.

“It is nearly one year ago that this Council passed a motion to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in solidarity with Palestine.

“We now need to put this motion into practice as well as adopt new motions regarding ethical investments and fair trade,” said Colr. Donnelly.