Articles, Maritime History

Irish Naval Service – growing to maturity

The main function of the Irish Naval Service is still prevention of illegal fishing in Irish territorial waters, but other important work includes rescue, and prevention of illegal activities such as drug and gun running. Over many years they have shown the flag overseas.

The Service started with three ex naval corvettes bought from Britain. These stayed in use until they were disposed of between 1968 and 1970, when they were replaced by three former coastal minesweepers, which had better sea-keeping capabilities and were more suited for the job.

Ireland’s accession to the EU followed by the increase of our territorial waters in 1976 from 12 to 200 miles offshore led to an increase in the fleet, and eventually to modernisation. Funding for three of the ships was from the EU.

The fleet (LE represents “Long Eireannach” Ship of Ireland)

LE Setanta Auxiliary 1970
LE Ferdia Auxiliary 1970
LE Deirdre Patrol 1972
LE Emer Patrol 1978 EU Funded
LE Aoife Patrol 1979 EU Funded
LE Aisling Patrol 1980 EU Funded
LE Eithne Patrol 1984 Largest in fleet
LE Orla Patrol 1988 .
LE Ciara Patrol 1988 .
LE Roisin Patrol 1999 Built to order
LE Niamh Patrol 2001 Built to order