March 13, 2024
LÉ Eithne scrapping would be disappointing waste of Ireland’s naval history – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has criticised the Minister for Defence Micheál Martin for taking the decision to scrap the former flagship of the Irish Naval Service, the LÉ Eithne, without even discussing its potential as a museum of naval history with Minister for Culture Catherine Martin, or conducting its own study of its feasibility.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson received a disappointing reply to a number of parliamentary questions he had posed to the Tánaiste in relation to the proposed scrapping of the LÉ Eithne recently. In response Ó Snodaigh said:

“This decision by Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaks to a total lack of ambition or vision on the part of the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Government when it comes to commemorating the dedicated history and service of the men and women of the Irish Naval Service. The LÉ Eithne is the last Irish-built naval ship, and in its proud 42-years in service had many firsts as the Navy’s flag-ship including  in recent past helping rescue thousands in peril in the Mediterranean.

“At a time of a serious crisis in terms of recruitment and retention in our Naval Service, and in the Defence Forces more broadly, more than ever we should be thinking of ways to engage and excite young people by telling the story of the Navy’s past, thus hopefully inspiring many more to serve.

“Opting to scrap the vessel without even doing a cost-benefit analysis into the alternative of using it as a museum is bad policy-making. Even worse is the fact that this wasn’t even discussed with the Minister responsible for our cultural heritage and museums.

“It will cost a significant sum to scrap the vessel, a cost that would be better put towards developing it as a tourist attraction that could recoup money by drawing tourists from far and wide, generating investment and creating jobs locally. This could form a must-see draw in Cork’s tourist offering, similar to Naval museums in other countries, while also complementing the other maritime museum/exhibits across Ireland such in Dun Laoghaire, Belfast, etc.

“Other cities spend millions building replicas of ships to showcase their maritime history. We don’t have to start from scratch, we have a stellar example of Irish shipbuilding and naval excellence in our hands, ready to be used to tell our island nation’s naval story, if we would only take the chance.

“It would be a disappointing waste to dispose of the LÉ Eithne for good, and I am calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Mícheál Martin TD to reconsider before it is too late. In years to come, when our grandchildren ask where the great ships of Irish history are, are we to say Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael sold them for scrap?”

Cur amú náireach de stair cabhlach na hÉireann an LÉ Eithne a bhriseadh suas – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Tá cáineadh déanta ag urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon, Cultúir agus Oidhreachta Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, ar an Aire Cosanta Micheál Martin as an cinneadh a ghlacadh an iarlong cheannais Seirbhís Chabhlaigh na hÉireann, LÉ Eithne a bhriseadh suas, gan fiú plé a dhéanamh faoin deis a bheadh ann é a úsáid mar mhusaem staire don chabhlach leis an Aire Cultúir Catherine Martin, nó staidéar féadarthachta féin a dhéanamh.

Dúirt urlabhraí Shinn Féin, tar éis dó freagra díomách a fháil le déanaí ón Tánaiste ar ceisteanna parlaiminte a chuir sé i dtaca le an moladh chun an LÉ Eithne a bhriseadh suas:

“Léiríonn an cinneadh seo ag Tánaiste Micheál Martin easpa iomlán uailmhiain nó físe ag an Rialtas Fhianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Glasach maidir le comóradh a dhéanamh ar sheirbhís dhíograiseach na fir agus na mná sa tSeirbhís Cabhlach. Sí an long cabhlach deireanach a tógadh in Éirinn, agus bhí tosaíochtaí aici le linn a 42 bliain feidhme bródúil ina measc ag tatháil na mílte a bhí i mbaol san Mheánmhuir.

“Fad is atáimid ag dul i ngleic le géarchéim earcíochta agus coiméad sa tSeirbhís Cabhlach, agus sna Fórsaí Cosanta níos foirleithne, tá sé níos tábhachtaí anois ná ariamh smaoineamh ar bhealaí chun daoine óga a spreagadh trí scéal stair an Cabhlach a insint, ag mhealladh tuilleadh liostáil inti.

“Droch-cheapadh polasaí atá ann an long a bhriseadh suas gan fiú anailís costais is tairbhe a dhéanamh ar an deis eile musaeum a dhéanamh di. Níos measa fós ná nár pléadh an cinneadh fiú leis an Aire atá freagrach as ár n-oidhreacht cultúir agus iarsmalanna.

“Beidh costas suntasach ag baint leí a bhriseadh suas, costas ar fiú caitheamh ar a fhorbairt mar áit turasóireachta a bhféadfadh airgead a shaothrú ar ais trí thurasóirí a mhealladh, ag gnóthú infheistíochta agus ag cruthú poist go háitiúil. D’fhéadfadh sé bheith mar mhealladh nach mór turasóireachta Chorcaí, sa chaoi céanna is atá museum Cabhlaigh i dtíortha eile, agus ag an am céanna ag cur leis atá ar an oileán I dtaca le museum cabhlach/muirí ar nós I nDun Laoghaire, Beal Feirste srl.

“Caitheann cathracha eile na million ar mhacasamhail longanna a thógáil chun a stair mairnéalach a léiriú. Ní gá dúinn tosú ó bhonn, tá sampla iontach de thógáil long agus barr feabhas cabhlach na hÉireann againn cheana féin, réidh le n-úsáid chun scéal cabhlach ár n-oileán a thaispeáint, dá dtapódh muid an deis.

“Cur amú a bheadh ann fáil réidh leis an LÉ Eithne, agus taim ag impiú ar an Tánaiste agus Aire Costanta Mícheál Martin TD athmhacnamh a dhéanamh ar seo sula bhfuil sé ródhéanach. Sna blianta amach romhainn, nuair a chuireann ár ngarleanaí an ceist orainn cá bhfuil mórlonganna stair na hÉireann, an gá dúinn a rá gur dhíol Fianna Fáil agus Fine Gael iad le haghaidh dramh-mhiotal?”


The response to Teachta Ó Snodaigh’s Parliamentary Question can be read here.

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