Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, has welcomed the arrival of the fourth new Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Irish Naval Service.
The ship, which will be formally named and commissioned as LÉ George Bernard Shaw at a later date, arrived at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork, after successfully completing its Sea Acceptance Trials.
These trials, which took place near Babcock Marine’s Appledore Shipbuilding Yard in Devon, United Kingdom, were attended by representatives from the Department of the Defence and the Defence Forces.
Commenting on the arrival of the vessel, Minister Kehoe said it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ongoing investment in the Defence Forces.
“In Budget 2019, we have committed to spend an additional €29 million on capital projects,” he said.
“I look forward to the future commissioning of this vessel and its addition to the Naval Service fleet where it will be a key driver in the essential provision of defence capability in the maritime domain around our country.”
The arrival of the new vessel will result in six of the current Irish Naval Service fleet having been built in the Appledore facility.
Minister Kehoe acknowledged the relationship between the Defence Organisation and Babcock.
“I would like to compliment Babcock for their ability to produce very well designed and stylish ships with state of the art equipment, which have already proven their value to the Naval Service both at home and on overseas missions,” he said.
The addition of the new ship will bring relief to older vessels and support a planned programme of refit and maintenance. LÉ Roisin and LÉ Niamh will receive significant mid-life refits in the period ahead.”
Minister Kehoe said the Department will continue to work closely with military management to address challenges in the Naval Service.
“The current strength of the Naval Service is just over 1,000 personnel and is at approximately 92% of its establishment of 1,094. There is ongoing recruitment to the Naval Service. Any challenges in delivering the full outputs across the Defence Forces are being managed and closely monitored by the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence under my direction on a daily basis.”