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Secretary General, Chief of Staff, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be in Haulbowline this afternoon to officially open two recently completed construction projects.

As you all know, since taking up office, I have regarded the modernisation of Defence Forces’ equipment and infrastructure throughout the country as a priority, and I am always delighted to see yet another, from the long list of proposed building projects, coming to fruition. So I was very pleased indeed to be told I had a choice of three brand new buildings to open in the Naval Base today. Not wanting to be considered greedy, I decided that I’d settle for opening two of them! So first of all I am opening this fine new Naval Service Logistics Unit Headquarters.

This building is a former RIC station and is of regional architectural significance. As we can see, all aspects of its conversion into the Logistics Headquarters: the doors, windows, etc. have been carefully and sensitively managed to ensure that it would remain faithful to its original design. The external light fittings are also in character with the traditional nature of the building. The job was completed in six months at a cost of €680,000 and the building now provides state of the art office accommodation for up to thirty people.

Last year I opened the Lew Glucksman Marine Facility here in Haulbowline. This facility is located in a sensitively restored old building and it is heartening to see some of the fine old buildings on this unique island being restored, rejuvenated and put to new use rather than simply being torn down and replaced by modern buildings which all too often can be lacking in character.

The main contractor for this project was Cumnor Construction Ltd. from Cork and the design team was our own Directorate of Engineering. The Engineering Officer here in Haulbowline oversaw the Project Design and Supervision of the project. I’d like to congratulate all concerned on what is clearly an excellent job.

In a few moments, I will be opening some new single room accommodation units and ablution facilities. These too have come about through re-furbishment of an older building – in this case former married quarters at Hero Row. The extensive work carried out during the refurbishment included reroofing, drylining, ceiling replacement, rewiring, the installation of central heating systems and new ablution units. This significant amount of work, which cost some €900,000, was completed in the impressively short time span of eight months.

The main contractor for this project was Joseph Lane & Sons Ltd from Cork. Other sub contractors involved in the project were William Black & Sons Ltd, Cork and H & F Electrical Ltd, Limerick. The design team for the building was the Architects Kelly-Barry-O’Brien-Whelan from Cork. The Quantity Surveyors were Callanan & Mirner Association from Cork; and the Mechanical / Electrical Engineers were Environmental Design Partnership from Dublin. All of the companies involved are to be complimented for the efficient manner in which they undertook the construction and for the very high overall standard of the work carried out.

These new buildings are very welcome additions to the facilities in the Naval Base. It is extremely important that we provide the best of facilities for all our serving personnel. Gone are the days of substandard accommodation, equipment and training facilities. The men and women of the Naval Service deserve the very best equipment and facilities that we can give them.

These fine new buildings, and the new, €2.5m Technical Stores down at the dockyard are all part of an investment programme that has seen over €150 million spent on upgrading facilities at installations throughout the country. It is a matter of particular satisfaction that the funding for these unprecedented levels of investment has come from our own resources through payroll savings and the sale of property surplus to requirements. I want to take this opportunity of restating the Government's total commitment to continuing the process of major investment in equipment and infrastructure for the Naval Service and the entire Defence Forces.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff my Department’s Building and Engineering Section and the Directorate of Engineers for all of the hard work that they put into bringing these projects to fruition.

It now gives me great pleasure to declare this Logistics Unit Headquarters officially open.


ENDS


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