ALMOST half of the Naval Service fleet was out of action at the same time because of maintenance problems, a military conference has been told.
Troops heard that three out of the eight vessels were in dry dock together for "unscheduled" repairs.
The plight of the Naval Service was revealed last night by Gerry Rooney, general secretary of Pdforra, the representative association for soldiers, sailors and aircrew.
He told his association's annual conference in Wexford that the naval difficulties provided further evidence of inadequate funding.
He said the Defence Forces had very specific roles, at home, with the UN and with the EU.
Mr Rooney claimed maintenance was being cut back, resulting in ships suffering greater levels of breakdown.
His association suggested that either more resources should be made available or else the service to be delivered should be reduced.
Defence Minister Alan Shatter is due to address the conference this evening.