AN army medic who helped deliver a baby on the deck of the LE Niamh last night has said he is "over the moon" that everything went well.
Corporal Conor Kilbride (36), from Swords, cut the cord after baby Destiny was born on the ship which is in the Mediterranean on a mission to rescue desperate migrants trying to cross to Europe in makeshift boats from Africa.
"It was a hectic time on the deck, but everything went well. There were no complications," he told the Herald this morning.
"I'm over the moon. It took me a long time to calm down and actually get some sleep afterwards.
"It was only later once things had calmed down and I was back in the room that I actually had time to think about what we actually did and it hit home then that we helped bring a child into the world.
"She was just lucky where she was."
The mother was 23-year-old Nigerian woman Grace, who was rescued along with more than 250 other migrants.
Conor helped the ship's lead medic, Corkman Paul O'Connell (38), to deliver the baby.
The LE Niamh's captain, Commander Ken Minehane, spoke this morning of his pride in the two medics' work in delivering the first child born on an Irish Naval Service vessel.
"Once we heard that Grace was going into labour we had full confidence that the two medics would be able to deliver," he said, adding that mother and baby are "doing well".
"When the woman was embarked she was complaining of pains," said Paul, "so myself and the other medics on board were just keeping a very close eye on her. She had told us that she was nine months and that she was due any day."
Paul was eating dinner on board yesterday when Grace went into labour. He and Conor threw on their personal protection wear and a section of the deck was cordoned off for privacy.
"It all happened so quickly after that. The baby was out before we knew it," he said.
"I delivered the baby and Corporal Kilbride clamped the umbilical. He proceeded to cut it then while I was holding baby Destiny."
Not just a first for the Navy, it is also the first baby that the two medics have delivered.
"You kick into gear and remember things from training and, thankfully, it all went fine," said Paul. "To have a pregnancy and to deliver a birth in th e conditions and environment that we were in I think is a really great achievement."