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Trinity College, Arms Investments and Ukraine

  • 25-03-2022 6:52pm
    Registered Users Posts: 823 ✭✭✭

    My mind harked back to an article I had come across with Trinity College and prompted further reading. Trinity College as of last year had investments in Arms Firms

    Trinity has €2.5m invested in armaments industry – Trinity News

    Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) have revealed that College’s endowment fund includes approximately €2.5 million of equity investments in the armaments and defence industries.

    The investments include €876,800 invested in Raytheon Technologies, €721,500 in Lockheed Martin, €245,900 in Honeywell International, €169,500 in BAE Systems, €111,000 in Airbus, €63,400 in L3 Harris and €15,900 in Thales. These companies have been connected to airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the ongoing war in Yemen according to research by Bellingcat, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, Yemeni Archive and Forensic Architecture.

    The FOI request was made by Trinity student László Molnárfi on behalf of campaign group Students 4 Change. College’s response included a complete list of its equity investments (investments in company stocks) as of 31 December 2020.

    Ukraine war makes arms investors in House of Lords richer | openDemocracy

    Now take this as an example - how the rich get richer while the world burns

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made members of the UK House of Lords tens of thousands of pounds richer through their investments in arms firms, openDemocracy has found.

    Tory peers Lord Glendonbrook, Viscount Eccles and Lord Sassoon, and unaffiliated peers Lord Lupton and Lord Gadhia, each own shares of at least £50,000 in British weapons manufacturer BAE Systems, according to the official register of interests.

    BAE Systems’ share price has risen by 23% since the war began nearly four weeks ago, meaning each peer’s investment is likely to be worth at least £11,500 more than it was.

    The firm is Britain’s biggest arms seller and sixth in the world overall. All but four of the world’s 20 biggest sellers of weapons have seen their share prices soar since the invasion began, with German firm Rheinmetall up by more than 60% and Italy’s Leonardo up by more than 44%.


    Should Trinity not divest all of its funding from the arms manufacturers with the ongoing war?


  • Registered Users Posts: 155 ✭✭I Blame Sheeple

    No because it would actually make a difference, whereas pretending to make a difference is much more popular.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    Just a few clicks up the road in Northern Ireland, Thales make the NLAW missiles that are currently doing a solid frying fascist Russian invading tanks.

    Raytheon make the Javelins that has Putin dissapearing generals and Russian troops sleeping in forests to keep their heat signature down.

    I'm not a Trinity alumnus, but if I were, at the moment I can't say I'd be all that upset with these investments via the endowment fund.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭growleaves

    @Yurt2 'I'm not a Trinity alumnus, but if I were, I can't say I'd be all that upset with these investments via the endowment fund.'

    Did you read the opening post or skim over it?

    'These companies have been connected to airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the ongoing war in Yemen'

    They are frying villagers in Sa'dah province.


    Not everything is about your fantasy of being a brave hero in the '30s and shooting fascists with the International Brigades.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,436 ✭✭✭✭TheValeyard

    Trinity was hoping to use these to block off all bridges and crossings from the Liffey.

    All Eyes On Rafah

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭growleaves

    As for the OP, I think itx extremely dodgy for an Irish university to be mixed up in the armaments industry. Creepy.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    Couldn't give a rattlers. I'm glad there's an arms industry that invests in R&D that provides Western armies from democratic countries with superiority over Putin's rag tag crew.

    You need to come out of the fog and grow up. Ultimately, our democracies are backstopped by people with the will to defend them if all comes to all.

    Those people need to be armed, preferably with weaponry that provides superiority over the likes of Russia when they go on a real estate and nation crushing adventure.

    I've made my peace with that, you should probably too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,242 ✭✭✭brokenangel

    I have an investment funding, it is for savings. I hold it with a company and they invest in shares based on predictions etc which will yield returns. I have no idea what those investments are in.

    I expect thousands if not millions of people in Ireland are doing the same.

    It would seem Trinity have something similar based on the article. Another storm in tea cup

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    I think people would be very surprised to learn where their pension providers invest their money if they went digging.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,242 ✭✭✭brokenangel

    Oh I didn't want to mention pensions but yes I bet if I checked mine a lot of it is sitting currently with arms providers. Pensions is always a dodgy topic but saving is easier topic

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Why? They're stakeholders. That's it. Their total investment is likely a miniscule drop in the amount of investment in these companies, and Trinity would have no say in what these companies do.

    It's not like they've got a weapons development facility in the middle of their campus.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭growleaves

    They can invest in opiods next.

    The extent to which educational institutions have commited to open-ended ruthless profiteering is like a parody.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,242 ✭✭✭brokenangel

    They already are, Johnson & Johnson are the biggest opioids manufacturer

    From the article

    €3.4 million in Johnson & Johnson

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,759 ✭✭✭✭One eyed Jack

    I do see where you’re coming from in terms of suggesting that educational institutions don’t appear to put their money where their mouth is, in terms of the ethics of their investments, but the issue with investing in ‘sustainable alternatives’ is that, well, they just don’t provide a good return on investment.

    As for parody, well, it doesn’t get much better than the Vaticans investments in pay-day loan companies 😏

    I’m with @Yurt2 on this one - as an investor I’ll make peace with my investment in armaments manufacturing companies - they’re incredibly profitable, much more so than beetroot burgers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭growleaves

    It's not as if selling arms to the Saudis to massacre civilians or becoming a tobacco manufacturer is the only route to profit.

    Basically posters are happy with a zero-ethics approach. Grand but you hardly can expect to encounter no controversy at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,680 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    I suppose there are also still plenty of people bitter and jealous that they missed out on attending there by not having enough points. It's only a university. They shouldn't be beating themselves up over it forever. There are also possibilities for entry as mature students or through access schemes such as TAP if they would still like to attend now.

    The people with the biggest chips on their shoulder will make great effort to tell you they didn't want X or chose not to Y at great length.

    Anyway, they gave money to investment managers who then managed the fund. You don't buy a dog and then bark yourself. You can give them the investment mandate of course.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭growleaves

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,680 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    It's true. You could still get in now as a mature student. The universities as a whole are actually very accessible. It is competitive at the CAO stage of course but that isn't the only gateway.

    On the subject of the investments, would you have more issues with them investing in the defensive industries or in companies producing vaccines? Pfizer for example?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,242 ✭✭✭brokenangel

    I think you will find no matter what company a uni invests in someone will find an issue with them. If you start in the top 500 and work your way down each one will have a problem because of XYZ

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,680 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Yeah, sure I think the article mentioned there are 1700 companies in the index/fund that they have money in.

    They could of course exclude certain companies or sectors from their portfolio mandate, but it would be nearly impossible to anticipate everything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    I'm not advocating a no-ethics approach, I'm saying I'm completely happy with the ethics of being an investor in an arms company.

    Arms, armies, defence and security are a fact of life. I'm grown up about it. I know that missiles are nastly little things that cause untold damage. I also know that there are extremely bad actors in the world that would tear down everything we have given half the chance. And I want the people defending me equipped.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I asked why.. Why is it creepy or dodgy? As I said they have no involvement beyond the actual investment as stakeholders/shareholders. No different to investing in any business that turns a profit, and gives returns.

    As for educational institutions, most of them are up to their eyeballs in debt, and I'd be supportive of them investing in profitable businesses, which might decrease their reliance on State supports.

    I honestly don't see what the problem is. Just seems like outrage for the sake of being outraged.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭ronivek

    I mean the only reason arms companies exist is because nations and various groups insist on using military might to try and solve problems or gain territory/wealth/whatever. Whether or not TCD invests in arms companies has zero bearing on the number of wars fought around the world or the general demand for weapons.

    Also from reading the article they just have money sitting in managed Irish Life funds; it's not like the Provost was sitting at his evil desk smacking his lips and picking out individual arms companies to invest in. It's standard risk management to spread funds out to various sectors and to different companies within those sectors.