THE Department of Defence has stated that “full consideration” will be given to a request for elements of navel vessel LÉ Eithne to be donated to Passage West Maritime Museum.
It was unanimously agreed during a meeting of the council’s Southern Division in May that Cork County Council would write to Defence Minister Simon Coveney 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.
In the written reply, the council was told plans for the ship are due to be decided in the near future.
“The minister has not made a final decision on the disposal of LÉ Eithne, but hopes to finalise his approach to the disposal very shortly,” the letter stated.
“When a final decision on the future of LÉ Eithne is taken, then your request that elements of LÉ Eithne be donated for display to Passage West Maritime Museum or similar publicly-owned venue will be given full consideration.”
The LÉ Eithne, LÉ Orla, and LÉ Ciara have all been decommissioned this year.
The LÉ Eithne is due to be replaced with a smaller multi-service vessel.
The letter said Mr Coveney is aware of the important role LÉ Eithne has played in Irish maritime and naval heritage and “any decision he makes will be informed by this”.
“Minister Coveney has asked his department to examine possible options for disposal before finalising his approach,” the letter added.
“In this context, if Cork County Council has a proposal to make, it should carry out a fully costed feasibility study as soon as possible and submit it to the department for consideration.”
The LÉ Eithne has strong ties with Cork and was the last Irish naval service ship to have been built in Cork’s Verolme dockyard.
She was commissioned in 1984 and became the first Irish naval vessel to cross the Atlantic when she visited the United States in 1986. She also became the first Irish naval vessel to travel to the Southern Hemisphere when she visited Argentina in 2006.