Government to purchase third new Naval Service ship

Taoiseach says new vessel will cost €54 million and be identical to the recently delivered LE Samuel Beckett

The Government is to purchase a third new Naval Service patrol ship which will be identical to the recently delivered LÉ Samuel Beckett.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who is also Minister for Defence since the resignation of Alan Shatter, said that an order has been placed with British shipbuilders Babcock Marine under an option offered for an extra vessel of the same class.

The option allows for purchase at 2012 prices so it will cost €54 million and will not be index-linked, Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny said that he had attended the commissioning ceremony for LÉ Samuel Beckett last month, and this "brought home" to him "the necessity to continue with the vessel replacement strategy".

The second of three new ships, the LÉ James Joyce, is due for delivery next year, and the third ship will arrive in Irish waters in 2016.

“Naval Service ships assert the integrity of our territorial waters as well as protecting the marine resources of the country,”Mr Kenny said this evening.

“The Naval Service’s operational capacity in a highly demanding environment will be enhanced when the three new offshore vessels are in service,”he added.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times