Which Is It?


Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe; two tweets from the minister on Saturday and the newsletter from the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service’s newsletter

On Saturday, Fine Gael TD and Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe tweeted that two Irish Naval Service vessels are in the dock for “planned maintenance” and that their crews had been deployed elsewhere.

He tweeted that the Chief Of Staff Vice Admiral Mellett had “reconfirmed” this to him.

This is despite a newsletter from the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service newsletter stating that the LE Eithne and LE Orla were being placed in an “operational reserve capacity” until such time that “sufficiently qualified and experienced personnel are available”.


Kehoe in ‘bunker of denial’ over navy manpower (RTÉ)

Newsletter pic: Cathal Berry

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12 thoughts on “Which Is It?

  1. Slightly Bemused

    I have a lot of thoughts on this, but two in particular.

    While I know these are two of the older, maybe even oldest, ships in the fleet, I do find it strange that LE Eithne is being mothballed given that it is the current flag ship of the service. The optics on that are a little strange.

    On RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning they mentioned the possibility that the two ships might be leased out by the company that built them. If this is true, I am not sure how that would work, and would be worried about the condition if they are returned to use with our Service. I can just picture some foreign captain ordering his helm to go at max speed in heavy weather and his boatswain says “But sir, that will damage the engine and the deck fittings” to which the captain would reply “Ah feck it, it’s only a rental!”

    1. Slightly Bemused

      Just a note to add to the above. Indeed the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Orla (along with her sister ship LÉ Ciara) are the oldest ships in the fleet, with the Eithne commissioned in 1984, and the Orla and Ciara originally commissioned with the Royal Navy in 1985.

      I wonder which ship will take over as the new flagship. Possibly LÉ Samuel Beckett, as the first of that newest class.

    1. eoin

      I would watch Kehoe like a hawk on any defence spending, eg the proposal to sell and lease back our ships.

  2. eoin

    The navy appears confused itself saying the two ships have been placed in an operational reserve capacity, yet also stating, “all ships will remain in full commission”.

    Both Kehoe and the navy could be right of course. The ships may (1) need maintenance and (2) not have enough crew/

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I like to think that your second point is closest to the truth. However, I am amused by the statement in the notice in the newsletter that the departure of the crews is due to the ‘improving economic situation nationally’. I would think it is due to the dire economic situation these crews have to suffer due to low pay and crappy conditions.

      A ship can remain in commission even if put in reserve. It is usually only fully decommissioned when being removed from full service and is ready to be disposed of or put into mothballs, and would usually involve removal of all military hardware. If we take at face value the statement that they intend to put the ships back into active service once staffing levels are addressed, then remaining in commission makes more sense. Likely they will be partly decommissioned in that they will be taken off the active service register, but not set for ending its service with the Navy.

  3. shitferbrains

    Is there an embargo on asking the Minister of Defence – Leo Varadkar – any questions about his role as Minister of Defence ? Reputedly a cold fish ( sorry ) in his dealings with the DF that doesn’t include a photo op with Keogh being sent out to take the flack ( sorry again ).

  4. Truth in the News

    The Irish Navy has a Vice Admiral and it seems no “Grand Fleet” or indeed the
    men to man even a couple of aging boats…..and yet we have of all things a
    Vice Admiral, the next thing we will have is Micheal D swanning around in
    colonial headpiece with an ostrich feather stuck in it:

  5. M P K

    F G Have always treated the Defence Forces whit discontent they see our service people as a tool to use when needed and when not put them away in a box and forget them do not pay them the minimum wage for the hours no wonder they are leaving they way they are F/F get in power gives the Defence Forces a rise then F G get onto power and take it back F G have taken away the full Minister Mr p kehoe is out of his depth

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