Call to retain LÉ Eithne as a tourist attraction

Councillor D’Alton said the LÉ Eithne embodies the glory days of shipbuilding in Cork
Call to retain LÉ Eithne as a tourist attraction

“LÉ Eithne is a bit special. She was built in Verlome dockyard and she was commissioned in 1984. When she visited the United States in 1986, she became the first Irish naval vessel to cross the Atlantic.

THE local authority is to request that the Irish Naval Service ship LÉ Eithne be retained in Cork as a monument and tourist attraction instead of being sold or scrapped.

It was unanimously agreed at Monday’s meeting of the council’s Southern Division that Cork County Council would write to the Minister for Defence and the secretary-general of the Department of Defence asking that LÉ Eithne be retained in Cork as a monument, rather than be scrapped or sold.

The motion was submitted by Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton. Ms D’Alton said the flagship has strong ties with Cork.

“LÉ Eithne is a bit special. She was built in Verlome dockyard and she was commissioned in 1984. 

"When she visited the United States in 1986, she became the first Irish naval vessel to cross the Atlantic. 

"She also became the first Irish naval vessel to travel to the Southern Hemisphere when she visited Argentina in 2006,” she said.

LÉ Eithne, LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara are all due to be decommissioned this year. Councillor D’Alton said the LÉ Eithne embodies the glory days of shipbuilding in Cork and the heritage needs to be maintained. 

“She is one of the three Irish naval ships that is due to be replaced over the coming year or so. She is to be replaced with a smaller multi service vessel. It came to light in the last week that she and her sister ships are likely to be scrapped.

“The Eithne is an integral part of our Irish maritime heritage, our naval heritage, and our Cork heritage. She was the last ship of the Irish naval service to have been built in Verlome dockyard. She embodies the glory days of shipbuilding in Cork Harbour when over 1,200 people were employed in Verlome. It would be a tragedy for the government and for the Irish people to lose this heritage. It will all be lost if she is scrapped as planned,” she added.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Paul Murtagh fully supported the motion from councillor D’Alton saying Cork Harbour should be utilised a lot more: “I’m just back from Copenhagen where they have their naval vessels in full view for tourists around the waterways. 

"I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be doing the same thing here in Cork. 

"We have one of the finest harbours in the world. We should be utilising it a lot more.”

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