Friday 20 October 2017

Department of Defence didn't 'take a responsible approach to the sale' of LE Aisling - Permanent Defence Forces

LE Aisling
LE Aisling

Daniel O'Connor

The Department of Defence was “irresponsible” to sell the LE Aisling for €110,000, a leading member of the Permanent Defence Forces has claimed.

Just seven weeks after the former patrol vessel of the Irish Naval Service was sold at auction for €110, it's now on sale in Rotterdam for €685,000.

Mark Keane, vice president of Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, has expressed his disbelief this morning into how the ship was sold.

A member of the Naval Service for 26 years, Keane has said that the defence forces are worried about the process in which one of their most famous ships was sold at auction.

Speaking on The Opinion Line on Cork's 96FM, he said: "We would have concerns about this whole issue.

"€110,000 for that ship is such a minuscule payment. The Aisling definitely should have had a higher price."

Referring to the LE Aisling as the "prize of our fleet", Keane explained how the boat would have been in excellent condition and that it was only sold due to the Naval Service’s process of retiring ships after 35 years of service.

"The ship was in excellent condition. I don’t think it would have even needed a lick of paint," Keane said.

Read More: Navy ship sold for €110,000 put on sale at €685,000

The LE Aisling was originally considered to become a tourist attraction and museum in Galway when it was commissioned in June 2016.

This plan was ultimately abandoned though after the vessel was deemend "unsuitable for conversion to use as museums or visitor attractions", according to Paul Kehoe TD.

Keane has now questioned how the Department of Defence could sell it for such a low amount.

He said: "The Department (of Defence) clearly didn’t take a responsible approach to the sale. Why wasn’t a resolve price placed?"

Auctioneer Dominic Daly described the sale as “disappointing” at the time of its purchase, while the ship’s buyer Dick Van Der Kemp referred to the purchase as a gamble.

Independent.ie has contacted the Department of Defence for comment.

Read More: Famous Navy ship LÉ Aisling sold in Cork auction for €110k

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