Navy set to put in €90m order for two 'vital' new ships
IRELAND is poised to confirm a €90m order for two high-tech new Naval Service vessels with a British shipyard in a matter of weeks.
Defence Minister Tony Killeen -- speaking at Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork -- said he was not surprised by public support for the expenditure despite Ireland's fiscal position given the crucial role the Navy plays in protecting Ireland's coast and marine resources.
The two new ships -- to be provided in 2014 and 2015 -- will replace the LE Emer and LE Aoife.
"The two ships will cost around €90m but the payment method is very attractive from our point of view in that we will pay for the vessels over an eight-year period -- up to 2017 while we will receive the boats in 2013/2014 on very good terms," Mr Killeen explained.
He insisted the two new ships were vital for the Navy.
Crucially, by the time the two new ships are commissioned, six of Ireland's eight-strong fleet will be more than 30 years old.
Mr Killeen insisted that the Government have taken on board the recommendations of the Bord Snip Nua report in relation to cost cutting and defence spending -- and have extended the life of the existing fleet.
He also said that the €90m cost would not be provided upfront -- and the constructors, Babcock Marine, have agreed to extend the build-period.
The minister was speaking at a special commissioning ceremony for the 48th Naval Service cadet class. The five new cadets commissioned yesterday were Cadet Mark Harman of Bandon, Co Cork; Cadet Glenn Landy of Belfast, Co Antrim; Cadet Helen Meredith of Douglas, Co Cork; Cadet Michael McCarthy of Cobh, Co Cork and Cadet Jason O'Brien of Cladhnach, Connemara, Co Galway.