February 2, 2024
Government must reconsider proposed scrappage of LÉ Eithne – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD, has called on the government to re-examine the proposed scrappage of the LÉ Eithne naval vessel.

Teachta Carthy said:

“In December government announced that their intention to scrap the decommissioned naval vessels LÉ Eithne, LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla.

“There has been much annoyance among former and current members of the Naval Service particularly in respect of the proposed scrappage of the LÉ Eithne.  

“LÉ Eithne was the last such vessel built at Verolme dockyard in Cork and it was central to a number of historical roles that the Irish Naval Service has played over several years.  

“I have raised this issue with the Tánaiste by way of Parliamentary Question.  It appears from his response that previous efforts to preserve the vessel as a museum or tourist attraction were unsuccessful.  The Tánaiste now indicates that he is moving ahead with the decision to scrap the vessel.

“However, it is also clear that that a final contract has not yet been signed.  

“Therefore, I have written to the Tánaiste urging him to revisit this matter to again try to identify an option that doesn’t involving scrappage.  Government need to be pro-active on this issue.  Scrappage is final, all other options must be examined before such action is taken.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Note to editor:

Parliamentary Question re LÉ Eithne:

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 31/01/2024
Question Number(s): 16 Question Reference(s): 4354/24
Department: Defence
Asked by: Matt Carthy T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence the current status of the stated intention to scrap the LÉ Eithne; if he will review the decision to scrap the vessel and instead put it to alternative uses, considering that this was the last such vessel built at Verolme dockyard in Cork and the other historical roles that this vessel was involved in; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The decision to decommission and dispose of LÉ Eithne in July 2022 was made having regard to the age and condition of the vessel and the resourcing and maintenance implications of retaining the vessel.

A number of organisations, including Dublin Port and the local authorities in Cork and Limerick, indicated their interest in taking LÉ Eithne as a museum piece / tourist attraction following her decommissioning. The Department of Defence engaged extensively with these interested parties but following, in some cases, lengthy discussions, all these parties withdrew their interest in taking the ship. 

When, despite the best efforts of all involved, these discussions were not successful in identifying an alternative use for LÉ Eithne post-decommissioning, I decided that the vessel should be disposed of by recycling in an environmentally sound manner along with  two other recently decommissioned Naval Service vessels, LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla.

Following a competitive process,  a preferred bidder has been identified to remove the three ships from Cork Harbour and to recycle them in line with the EU Ship Recycling Regulation and relevant national regulations. Contract negotiations are underway with the preferred bidder and it is hoped to sign a contract in the coming weeks.

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