Naval Service’s two inshore patrol vessels named LÉ Aoibhinn and the LÉ Gobnait

Decision to name ships after mythological figures runs counter to proposal to name them after Irish female leaders

The Naval Service’s two inshore patrol vessels have been named the LÉ Aoibhinn and the LÉ Gobnait, Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin has said.

The vessels, which were purchased from the New Zealand Government in 2022, are currently undergoing a programme of works and preparation at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Co Cork including crew familiarisation and training, before them becoming operational.

The Minister’s decision to name the ships after female mythological figures runs counter to a proposal to name the vessels after noteworthy Irish female leaders. The proposal was put forward by the Defence Forces as part of the organisation’s response to the Women of Honour allegations of misogyny and abuse within the military.

The Tánaiste said while the names Aoibhinn and Gobnait were firmly rooted in ancient Ireland, representing women in Irish mythology and history, “they are also relevant to modern Ireland as variations of these names can be recognised today”.


“The introduction of the IPVs [inshore patrol vessels] to the naval fleet will enhance the capability of the Naval Service, both in relation to fisheries’ protection and other roles,” he said.

“These ships will serve and protect the people and the State for many years to come.”

The Department of Defence said in a statement that the purchase of the vessels was one of “several strategic measures” being implemented by the Government to increase the capabilities of the Naval Service in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone.

“The IPVs will be tasked like all other operational vessels with a variety of defence and other roles,” it said.

“While the main daily tasking will be to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with our obligations as a member of the EU, they will also carry out a number of other non-fishery related tasks in tandem with maritime surveillance.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times