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Today, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, attended a decommissioning ceremony for the longest serving vessel in the Irish Naval Service fleet, the LÉ Aoife. The ceremony took place this afternoon along the quayside in Waterford city.

In his address at today’s ceremony, Minister Kehoe stated that: LÉ Aoife has been decommissioned after 35 years of outstanding service to the State and noted that during this time she travelled in excess of 600,000 nautical miles, an equivalent of circumnavigating the globe 28 times, and her crew has boarded over 4,700 vessels at sea and detained over 440 fishing vessels. The Minister recalled that during her service, LÉ Aoife has been involved in many successful operations, primarily involving her role as a fishery protection vessel but also search and rescue missions, most notably, the recovery in 1985 of the black box from Air India Flight 182 off the south west coast.

The Minister also stated: I am pleased to report that the Department of Defence is continuing to progress the Ships Replacement Programme. The first of the ships under the current programme, the LÉ Samuel Beckett was handed over at the end of April 2014 while the replacement vessel for LÉ Aoife, the LÉ James Joyce, is scheduled for delivery in the coming months. Furthermore, last year the Department of Defence placed an order for a third new Offshore Patrol Vessel scheduled for delivery in the middle of 2016.

Finally, Minister Kehoe noted that LÉ Aoife is twinned with Waterford and has had a long association with the city. In this context, the Minister commended the crews of LÉ Aoife whom he stated have taken great pride in her close association with the city and have over the years raised many thousands of euro on behalf of the Children’s Ward in the University Hospital in Waterford.


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