The pension fund of British arms manufacturer BAE Systems has reached agreement with Dublin City Council to lease for social housing a number of family homes it recently purchased in the Irish capital.
They include a mix of newly-built apartments and houses, as well as refurbished homes on different roads in Kimmage and Crumlin which were snapped up by the pension fund.
The deal is understood to be under consideration by council lawyers but could see six homes delivered for social housing in early 2022.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the BAE pension fund said: “Like most pension funds, property is part of our portfolio which, under the direction of the trustees, seeks opportunities for investment for its members.
“In Dublin, we have purchased a number of properties which have been renovated before being leased back to the council for use as social housing.”
The pension fund’s parent company, BAE Systems, produces a wide range of military hardware including combat aircraft and vehicles, ammunition, precision munitions, artillery systems and missile launchers.
In 2020 it reported £20.8 billion (€24.6 billion) in sales. Last year it emerged BAE Systems had sold £15 billion (€17.8 billion) worth of arms and services to Saudi Arabia's military over a five-year period of war in Yemen.
A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said it had reached provisional agreement following a submission it received from BAE Systems Pension Fund Trustees Ltd earlier this year but that “no binding agreements are in place”.
“Dublin City Council’s leasing arrangements follow the national schemes for leasing, both standard and enhanced leasing. Due diligence is carried out in line with the schemes,” she said.
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the deal reflects a broader issue – that the local authority and individual perspective buyers were often in competition with investment funds to secure badly-sought-after property, serving to inflate prices.
“This is a problem with the approach of the State to the housing market and crisis at the moment,” he said. “Councils should own their own social-housing units.”
BAE’s role in supplying arms used in Yemen and other conflict zones has been widely criticised.
"The last five years have seen a brutal humanitarian crisis for the people of Yemen, but for BAE it has been business as usual," Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade said last year.
“The war has only been possible because of arms companies and complicit governments willing to support it.”
The company has said it supplies defence equipment, training and support under government agreements between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in compliance with export-control laws and regulations.