Sunday 21 July 2019

Spanish Navy to send vessel for Armada events

Ciara Galvin

The Spanish Navy intend to send a vessel and crew later this year to coincide with Sligo's Spanish Armada celebrations.

The new Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, Ilde Castro outlined the intentions to send a vessel in a meeting with Fianna Fáil TD Marc Mac Sharry recently

Mac Sharry was the first member of Dáil Eireann to meet with the newly-appointed ambassador who previously served as Deputy Head of the Spanish Mission to Ireland.

Mac Sharry said he was 'honoured' to be invited to a breakfast meeting with Ambassador Castro at his residence in Dublin.

"He informed me it was the very first meeting he sought to hold which to me is a great testament to the esteem with which the Spanish Mission to Ireland hold Sligo and the North West."

Deputy Mac Sharry attributed this affinity for Sligo by the Spanish people to the 'extraordinary work' of the Grange Armada Development Association and their efforts over the years in commemorating the Spanish Armada story and Sligo and Irelands unique part in it.

The Spanish Armada resulted in up to 24 ships making landfall on the coast of Ireland, from Antrim to Kerry.

Three ships grounded near Streedagh Strand, with 1,800 men drowned and perhaps 100 coming ashore. The wreck-site was discovered in 1985.

The Ambassador confirmed to Mac Sharry the Spanish Navy's intention to send one of their vessels together with its crew and an Admiral of the Spanish Navy later this year to coincide with the annual celebrations being organised by the Grange Armada Development Association.

Mac Sharry said "I am hoping that the Irish Navy will reciprocate by providing one of our own vessels in line with the wishes of the Grange based organisers".

In relation to the close historic ties between Sligo and Spain, through the Armada events, the Deputy said the discussion included efforts by the Embassy and Mac Sharry to establish an intra-parliament friendship group between the Dail and the Spanish Parliament.

"We all hope this can progress matters of mutual interest naturally with our shared Armada heritage high on the agenda. In addition, the great numbers of Spanish students and tourists who come to Ireland and the North West each year and of course the many thousands of Irish who holiday in Spain"

He continued, "I was very encouraged by Ambassador Castro who was unequivocal in stating his country's support for Ireland throughout the ongoing Brexit debacle. He very much looks forward to returning to Sligo," adding that the people of Sligo and the Grange Armada Development Association would no doubt extend a warm welcome to the Ambassador.

Sligo Champion