Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, today (Tuesday 28th February) announced that the fourth Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Irish Naval Service will bear the name of renowned Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. The announcement was made during a traditional Keel Laying Ceremony, to mark a significant milestone being reached in the build process for the fourth new OPV, in Babcock’s Shipbuilding Yard in Devon, UK.
The Keel Laying ceremony was attended by the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe TD, senior representatives from Babcock, the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence, as well as Naval Service members involved in the build project.
The new ship will be the same class as LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ James Joyce and LÉ William Butler Yeats and the name George Bernard Shaw maintains the approach of naming this class of vessel after Irish literary greats.
Speaking at the ceremony Minister Kehoe said “Whether it is carrying out defence and security operations, on sea fisheries patrols, search and rescue operations or on overseas missions such as the humanitarian operation in the Mediterranean, the efforts of the Naval Service are enhanced by having access to new vessels equipped with the latest available capabilities.
Reflecting on the relationship between the Defence organisation and Babcock which has already seen a number of the current in-service Irish Naval Service vessels built in the Appledore facility Minister Kehoe said
“The Government’s current ship replacement programme has delivered three Naval Service vessels, representing a significant investment by the Government in the provision of defence capability for the State. The ship that is being built at present will be the fourth in this class providing huge commonality benefits to the Naval Service and allowing for greater operational capacity.”
Minister Kehoe concluded by complimenting employees at Babcock “for their ability to produce well designed and stylish ships with state of the art equipment which have already proven their value to the Irish Naval Service both at home and on overseas missions.”